Come winter, most birds head to distant, warmer regions. But there is a bird species that doesn't just prefer a staycation, but also enjoys putting on a mesmerising show for those watching.
Starlings are a common sight in Europe all year long, but come October, their growing numbers are often seen in large flocks, in places like the UK. Their flock or murmuration performs incredible aerobatic displays before the birds disperse and head to their favourite roosting sites.
Merging and moving in this beautiful way has more than just an aesthetic function – it provides the birds with safety from predators. They also benefit from the warmth of other birds and use the time to exchange information. Spot a starling in today’s Word Search!
Another bird that might be the complete opposite of the starling – in that it was built to stand out from the crowd – is the black, white, and orange puffin. Although they look adorable, puffins are some of the hardiest birds you can find. Their bodies are completely waterproof and they spend incredible amounts of time in the open ocean. According to National Geographic, puffin fledglings ride ocean waves for up to two full years before heading back to land.
The Atlantic puffin is listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), partly because climate change is affecting the bird’s prey.
Another striking bird in today’s puzzle is the bobolink, a North American bird species that looks like it’s wearing a tuxedo backwards. Bobolinks are considered to be one of the world’s most impressive songbird migrants, travelling some 20,000km to and from South America each year. In its lifetime, the bobolink can travel the equivalent of four or five times around the circumference of the Earth, according to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in New York, US.