The art of flying, murmurations
The murmurations phenomenon concerns the gregarious behavior of birds. The individuals in a group act together, with no direction planned, forming waves of birds in the sky. This flock characterizes social bird species, their behavior is similar to fish schools or swarms of insects. Acting this way, these groups have the advantage of coping with environmental pressures such as predators, of efficiency in food intake and promoting reproduction.
In the Netherlands, the 2014/2015 winter was relatively warm. Most of the starlings did not migrate and remained. Murmurations phenomena are more frequent in early winter when the birds have not yet migrated but already need to congregate. The Dutch filmmaker Jan van IJken filmed these murmurations phenomena at dusk, in the netherlands countryside.
In this short film, titled the art of flying, the random flights of these birds offer a setting worthy of a ballet. In the twilight, these waves of birds form ondulations moving in the sky, as if suspended. It seems that their movement will never stop. The starlings are like black particles forming moving matter. This group of individuals come together to create a kind of large animal form, dancing in the sky, swirling, twirling, expanding, spreading and compressing. Meanwhile, the poetic form seems to draw itself in the sky. Finally, at the end of the film, the birds leave, without colliding, in the night that’s beginning to fall.
“The art of flying has been screened on over 50 international filmfestivals, galleries, etc and won the award for Best Art Film at Pärnu International Documentary Film Festival, Estonia in 2016. In 2017, a short version of the film was published on National Geographic Short Film Showcase and was awarded as Vimeo Staff Pick. The film was viewed by very many people online.” – Jan van IJken site