It's called a murmuration - the bird dance, an aerial ballet with tens of thousands of starlings, grackles, cowbirds and red-wing blackbirds flying in mass but seemingly with one mind. Watching it can be mesmerizing - it's a twisting, swirling, morphing, shape-shifting living cloud.
"They don't participate in this behavior during the breeding season because their energy is geared towards producing and raising young birds," says Michael Steinberg, professor at the University of Alabama New College. "It probably happens in the winter because their is power in numbers in terms of avoiding predators”.
Our own Mike DeWit talks about peak migration in January, and how California rice fields feed habitat!