Was it time to fly south for the winter?

Footage from Drokino, Russia posted by Liveleak shows what appears to be thousands upon thousands of birds flying off of a tree at the same time. As soon as they took to the skies above, the tree that had looked so full with foliage suddenly lost a few pounds.

An onlooker was amazed. “Wow,” “Weeee!”, and “Fantastic” were the only words he could muster.

This type of thing happens often with crows. Groups of crows, called murders, form massive roosts where they return to rest each evening. For example, each winter as many as  150,000 crows roost on the University of Washington, Bothell campus, actually causing the trees to slouch under their weight.

The term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. Other fun examples of “group” names include: an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot of frogs, and a skulk of foxes.

Although the sight of the birds in flight is fascinating, there are many reasons you wouldn’t want them to flock in your trees. For one thing, a huge number of birds can quickly make a really big mess.  There are lots of web sites that offer advice on how to get birds out of your trees.  Some urban areas have treated these situations as an invasion rather than an amazing natural phenomenon.

Although this was in no way menacing, it really reminds you of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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