Spring and autumn starlings gather in the marshes at Hojer (Højer) in huge flocks on the move. Just before the starlings go down on the ground for the night, the big flocks draw fascinating patterns in the sky – what is called “black sun “. Hojer is close to Tonder (Tønder), and is a common sight along the western shoreline, where farmers, often, have livestock wandering about freely. You can even see the starlings dance in Ribe, an old medieval town, that is known for it’s bustling life in the streets and very interesting medieval buildings and museums. But of course, there is lot more to see in this city. Read more about Ribe here.
The beautiful black sun
Some evenings the starlings “dance” more than others – where they make quick changes of direction and fly back and forth for a long time before they decide for a nice spot to land. This is because there are nearby birds of prey. Birds of prey are trying to attack the starlings from above, and the starlings make evasive maneuvers to keep birds of prey under them. The starlings even counter-attack the predators with vomit and bird droppings, which makes their feathers sticky, so they can not fly. Evenings without raptors the starlings won’t put on a “show”, but rather dive straight down to the tubes. The starlings position themselves on the same spot of reeds – the top in danger of being taken by a predator, and the lower might even stay there with the feet in water. The starlings will chirp. Alot. A chirping so high that it can scare both birds and four-legged predators away.
The starlings come from the countries close to the Baltic Sea and Norway, and can amount in enormous number, a million birds on the move is not unusual. Starlings is on the move towards warmer latitudes, and the spring migration is from February to mid-April, and the autumn migration begins in August and can last into December. When the frost has been pending for the past year, there has still been great Black Sun in early November. Black Sun period in the spring is shorter than in the fall. This does not mean that Black Sun experience is less than in autumn. Often there are several starlings at one time because the period is shorter.