This is the stunning moment a huge cloud of thousands of starlings swirled in the skies above Doncaster is one of nature’s greatest spectacles.
Thousands of birds came together to create the incredible sight in the skies above Potteric Carr nature reserve – and the whole mesmerising display was captured on camera by visitor services manager Richard Sykes.
He said: “Some workers have perks like pool tables or a slide between floors in the workplace.
“Working for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve we get this!
“It was simply amazing, a wonder of nature.”
Up to 50,000 starlings visit the site between November and January, where they roost in reed beds and create nightly displays of aerial acrobatics in the sky.
Though it looks as if they’re guided by some supernatural force, each bird’s movement affects the closest seven birds around it, causing a lightning-fast chain reaction across the flock.
This creates the impression of a single, undulating entity, writhing in the sky like smoke - and is known as a murmuration.
The starlings’ aerobatics could be a collective effort to create warmth before settling down to roost, or a reaction to a predator nearby, often unseen by human observers.
Finding safety in numbers, the birds may go through their spectacular evasive manoeuvres to avoid being picked off by the razor-sharp talons of a sparrowhawk or peregrine falcon.
READ MORE: A half century of Potteric Carr
Early evening, just before dusk, is the best time to see them across the UK.