In Pictures: Migrating starlings put on a display in Israel's skies

Starlings from Russia and east Europe swoop, pivot and soar, putting on a display to shame any aerobatics team. They embark on their spectacular aerobatics in the evening. According to ornithologist Yossi Leshem of Tel Aviv University, the starlings do it to help each other find food and to fend off predators. A falcon or hawk will try to focus on a single bird, Leshem said. By grouping together, the starlings not only find safety in numbers but their changing movements and shifting collective shape confuses their would-be attackers. They can even create a sudden breeze with their synchronized movements, he said, causing a hawk or falcon to fall flat on its back, not unlike an aircraft hitting wind shear.