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Starlings on parade in spectacle near military base

Owen Humphreys

By Tom Wilkinson, PA

Tens of thousands of starlings looked as though they were on military manoeuvres when they put on a spectacular display close to the biggest Army base in the country.

The early evening aerobatics, known as a murmuration, have been happening above a drainage pond beside the A1 in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Crowds have gathered at dusk to watch the birds twist and swoop in clouds, seeming to fly from all directions, before they bed down in reeds.

The display lasts around 15 minutes before dusk and scientists believe starlings may form them to protect themselves from predators.

Fred Watson, from Northallerton, said: “I thought it was great, the clouds, the shapes and how they come in – lovely, super.”

David Kell, from Snape, agreed: “I thought it was marvellous.

“It was the first time I have seen starlings roost on the floor, and the numbers were immense.”

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