Thousands of starlings seeking shelter for the night under Albert Bridge in Belfast form an impressive wildlife spectacle known as a murmuration.
As shoppers go about their business in Belfast city centre, most are unaware of an unusual display happening in the sky above them. As twilight comes, small groups of starlings arrive and assemble together in the Belfast sky. The huge flock of starlings perform a spectacular aerial display in unison over the River Lagan before finally coming to roost under Albert Bridge.
The display, known as a murmuration, resembles a swarm of bees swooping and diving en masse. Many of the birds come from Eastern Europe where temperatures are colder.
One onlooker says there could be up to 30,000 starlings seeking shelter for the night under Albert Bridge. Orla Maguire a biodiversity officer with Belfast City Council explains the reason why starlings put on such a spectacular show,
A lot of it is the safety in numbers from their predators, but also I think there must be a social element to it.
The birds are very loud when they come in under the bridge and onlookers can see them on a nightly basis throughout winter.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 November 2008. The reporter is Michael Fisher.