Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weird Bird Vortex?


From the ol' JSH mailbag:

Hello there! I was googling "weird bird vortex" and your blogspot popped up and while I didn't investigate all the archives, I did think maybe you would have heard something about it.

About twelve years ago I lived in Bowling Green, KY and I was walking toward the square and I espied what appeared to be hundreds of starlings swirling in a cyclone pattern over the parking lot of the community services building. I asked a friend about it and he said that it happens every year on a certain date and is something akin to the egg-standing-on-end phenomena.

Have you ever heard of this and if so could you give me your knowledge on the subject? Much appreciated.

Marie

Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything about the connection of starlings to the balanced egg phenomena, although it sounds fascinating! Any other readers know anything about this?

I do remember taking some pictures in Georgetown, KY last year of a huge murmuration of starlings, who were swirling for over an hour in a peculiar sort of frenzied cyclonic cloud, much in the same way as in this video but more consistently figure-8-shaped. Going back through the files now to retrieve them.

4 comments:

Melissa said...

It is a popular misconception that one can balance a raw egg on its end on the Equinoxes:
http://www.badastronomy.com
/bad/misc/egg_spin.html#badegg
In fact, you can balance an egg on any day, given sufficient patience.

If starlings are murmurating in a pattern over a particular spot, I would hypothesize a geomagnetic anomaly there. Based on that premise, the particular day might be a planetary configuration which affects the local geomagnetism (like Edward Leedskalnin only working on Coral Castle at particular times). I believe many migratory creatures use ley lines and their nexii in their navigation, therefore might be drawn, or temporarily confused, by fluxes therein.

Anyone have record of the dates?

soliussymbiosus said...

I find it particularly ironic that the commenter above provides a link to a site that is devoted to debunking nonsensical new age woo, and then postulates using that same woo.

Here is a real hypothesis that can be tested:

Thermal updrafts due to the black body effects of the parking lot.

JSH said...

Soliussymbiosus, one man's truth is another man's woo-th.

New Age belief systems have their place, and so does the Cult of Skeptical Rationalism. I genuflect at the altar of neither, but politely tip my hat to each as I pass by.

Emme said...

Isn't limestone supposed to be particularly attractive to "woo"? That would explain the geomagnetism. Thermal updrafts too. Much like dust devils...