Flock of Birds

Flock of Birds
Swirling swooping displays deter predators, safety in numbers, warmth, sociability
This is an image of flying ducks which can be found at the Museum of East Anglian Life, please see the stories so far below for more information.
Swooping, swirling, making ominous shapes in the sky, there is nothing more impressive than seeing a flock of birds navigating currents of air as they fly about above you. Somehow, despite performing sharp loops and turns they don't crash into each other and collapse into embarrassing pile-ups. Instead they execute manoeuvres like the most expert dancers - perfectly in synch, perfectly in time, whilst always improvising (for the shapes they conjure aren't pre-rehearsed). Yet there is a purpose to these displays of beauty as essentially the flocks are formed for a variety of reasons - the most dominant being to do with food and survival. Quite simply, there is safety in numbers. Safety from predators. In a group the birds look larger and like a force to be reckoned with - unlike a solitary bird on its own. If the flock sticks together it can feed safely, which may not be the most efficient way of feeding, but it is definitely better than getting eating by something bigger than you! This explains why these displays of flocking are commonly seen at early evening, because that is when predators are more likely to be out and about. At Landguard Fort, when operators of early radar technology saw strange unidentified forms morphing their way up the estuary between Landguard and Harwich, they called them ‘angels’. Until they finally realised, the shapes were actually flocks of birds!

Stories posted so far...

Posted by The Museum of East Anglian Life
Low flying ducks adorned the walls of many homes over a period of three decades! Attributed to the Suffolk artist Vernon Ward, R.A., this registered design, manufactured by Beswick of Staffordshire, provided an income for the artist, financing his principal work of illustrating books concerned with birds, animals and plants. The ceramic birds were usually sold in sets of three, though curiously a group of five, which spent much of their life in the town, has recently come into the Museum’s collection; a decorative celebration of Stowmarket’s surfeit of canard delight!
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