How the swarms of Black Sun are taking over the internet

Migratory phenomenon can involve millions of starlings


It has been pointed out since we published this story this morning that the video was not shot in Denmark, but in Ireland on the river Shannon.


An exhilarating video (see link below) of Denmark’s ‘Black Sun’ phenomenon – a seasonal 'quackening' in the wilds of Denmark in which millions of starlings gather in a murmuration to turn the sky black as night – is quickly going viral.

Two documentary filmmakers, Sophie Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith from Islands & River, filmed the two-minute video from their boat in Jutland amid whoops of shock, fear, relief and elation.

Formed by migratory birds
‘Sort sol’ takes place in areas of Denmark – including the Tønder marshes in southern Jutland, the west Jutland fjords and on Bornholm – in both the spring and autumn as the birds gather for migration.

It is difficult to estimate exactly how many birds are in each murmuration, but when several converge, there can be up two to three million in the skies – it’s no wonder it’s difficult to see the sun.

It is believed they congregate in large formations to ward off predators. Should a bird of prey attack, the starlings will expel all manner of bodily fluid – vomit, excrement etc – until their attacker's wings become too sticky to continue flying. Several birds of prey have known to have drowned as a result.

Term is copyrighted
Curiously, the term ‘Black Sun’ is copyrighted. Dansk Natursafari founder Iver Gram claims he coined the term, and in 2004, he made a formal application for a patent, which was granted.

The decision meant that the Wadden Sea Centre had to change the name of its tours to 'Goodnight Starlings’.