Murmurations are the patterns made when hundreds of thousands of starlings come together in huge flying masses. The birds turn the sky black as they follow their airborne neighbours in this incredible wildlife spectacle.

These unique formations happen during autumn and the winter months and can be seen over piers, nature reserves and in other places.

I am interested in recreating this phenomena using computer graphics and you can see my attempts on the YouTube video.

I’m working toward some open source code that can be compiled in Visual Studio in github. Until then, the current simulation uses 40,000 birds and follows Reynolds rules of cohesion, alignment and separation. I use a partition tree to restrict how many neighbours are computed at any one time.

The patterns in the videos linked are mostly caused by the act of predators, though I’m currently using an n4 partition to give the starlings their own local destination based on the direction of the nearest/biggest mass.

Craig Reynolds created the first boids in 1986. Read about them here: