Starlings and COVID-19

A reflection on the ravages of COVID-19.

At the start of 2020, few people realised what awful devastation COVID-19 would unleash around the world. Today, in the spring of 2021, many of us are reflecting on the terrible impact this newly discovered virus has had on everyone.

Schools and workplaces have been closed, the elderly in care homes have not been able to see loved ones, hospitality, entertainment and sport has been closed down and everyone has lost someone they cared about. Many people, young and old, are struggling emotionally with little support or help. It has taken such a dreadful toll on life and emotions. As I was looking through my images of starling murmurations, I began thinking about the large numbers of birds flying by and I felt it mirrored the huge numbers of people affected by COVID-19 and I began to think about those people I knew personally who had been lost to COVID-19. I was also thinking about climate change and the natural world and how humanity’s hand has contributed to the emergence of this zoonotic disease and wanted to represent these thoughts through my imagery of the natural world.

You can see the start I have made on this project by viewing the “Starling murmurations” gallery ( on my main website (

2 thoughts on “Starlings and COVID-19”

  1. Murmurations have always fascinated and amazed – the ability to fly [or swim] as a collective body exhibiting sudden shape and directional shifts without, apparently, significant casualties defies belief. There seem to be no leaders. Maybe it’s beyond analysis, maybe we should not try and just wonder. Hopefully using the Covid-19 analogy we can all soon fly free collectively, also with no casualties.

    1. Thanks for your great comments. Starling murmurations have received a significant amount of research recently.
      Some researchers determined that when one starling changes direction or speed, each member of the flock responds almost instantaneously, regardless of the size of the flock. Another group of physicists determined that starlings in large flocks consistently coordinate their movements with their seven nearest neighbours.

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The Sensorman Photography Blog features some of my recent photographic projects and shoots. I've also included anything related to wildlife and the environment that piques my interest.

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