Three Things We Need To Do If We Want To Murmurate

And if we do, the human flock might just sort itself out

B. Lorraine Smith
5 min readAug 17, 2022
Nature offers patterns of behaviour for us to observe and learn from if we choose. This video of a murmuration of starlings — an invasive species in my native North America — offers ideas for me and my sister and fellow invasive humans to ponder.

Nature handles complicated complexity, simply and beautifully

Sometimes simplicity is right in front of us. It’s ours to notice, even as — or especially as — we confront the most complicated and complex challenges.

I was reminded of this by a line of questioning at a recent gathering. The query went like this:

What needs to happen for a murmuration of starlings to occur? And what can humans learn from this?

If you haven’t seen a murmuration before, I encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the dynamic, geometrical, seemingly magical habit of our feathered friends.

Scholarship aplenty

How do these birds not crash into each other? We humans seem to be crashing into one another a fair bit, in small and large ways. What are these critters doing that we aren’t? And what can we apply to our own behaviours?

Numerous books have been written on related topics (one I appreciated is The Smart Swarm, by Peter Miller). Here, I’ll simply home in on a pattern that feels relevant for us, now, in the context of our combined challenges — our…



B. Lorraine Smith

Former sustainability consultant replacing ESG with reality-based insights about corporate purpose and impact.