If there's one thing that regularly makes me stop whatever I'm doing and stare agape, it's the murmuration of thousands of starlings dancing across the sky. Likened to an "aerial ballet," each bird mimics the minute flight responses of its seven closest neighbors. This in turn allows massive flocks to respond as one to dangers from hawks, falcons and other predators.

"This is how a flock is able to look like a twisting, morphing cloud with some parts moving in one direction at one speed and other parts moving at another direction and at another speed," writes MNN's Jaymi Heimbuch in an in-depth article on the phenomenon.

The BBC recently captured one of the more insane starling murmuration I've ever seen, with over 70,000 birds dancing across the sky of a nature reserve in the UK. Yes, the music is awful. But wow, what a sight!

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

This 'dancing cloud' of 70,000 starlings is utterly mesmerizing
Known as a murmuration, this incredible aerial ballet was recently captured at a nature reserve in the UK.