These joyous congragations occur certainly after the nesting season is over and probably only when food is plentiful in the autumn. In fact, I suspect that they are practise flights for the young, who will soon migrate. I have read that physicists find the shape-morphing of mathematical interest, as they are much too complex to be attributed to a single leader. But surely, beyond their biological and mathematical marvels as the murmurations swing from teardrop to boomerang to comma, every individual starling must be drunk on the sheer glory of group dance.
What became even more touching was the way our private performance ended. Bit by bit, the party-goers went home to bed, simply dropping unceremoniously into treetops in what I assumed were loosely-related kinship groups. I would love to know who had held out the longest, unwilling to say goodnight and forsake the wild abandon of the sky. Maybe it was just the teenagers. Within two minutes, all had tucked themselves in and the sun was free to set. We sat in silence for several moments of gratitude.
I admit to having no photos of flocks. The best I can offer you - you who have been steeped in regular colour - is this watercolour of our dear orange-wing parrot. Having decided to paint him in a variety of poses along a branch, I realized that such a scene was impossible for pair-bonders unless the kids had not yet left for university. So instead I just called it "Gussie, Gussie, Gussie, Gussie, Gussie."