A Murmuration of Starlings or a Serious Case of Ornithophilia?

by Prince Of Petworth January 20, 2016 at 10:10 am 13 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

Thank you all for indulging in my recent obsession of birds, yesterday’s will be tough to beat but today we’ll focus on an unusual situation in Petworth. In the building above the YES! Organic Market on Georgia Ave – apparently there are either a ton of birds or someone who’s playing a really loud recording of a ton of birds. A reader captures the scene a bit (though I’m told the video doesn’t do justice to how loud these birds sound):

“This was filmed on Taylor St, a block off of Georgia. My neighbor said she’s emailed the management company for the building that Yes is in, but hasn’t received a response.

What on earth is up with the loud recording of bird noises on Georgia by Yes? This has been going on for days, only at night.”

Video after the jump.


  • LittleBluePenguin

    That is a terrifying picture. I hate starlings, those wretched non-native birds that are destroying native bird species!

    • INDC

      Yeah, starlings are sort of a “junk” bird, but their murmurations are spectacular. Same with the brown-headed cowbirds murmurations (though I think they’re a non-invasive species) – there was a flock of them down near National Airport and it was pretty awesome to see the group in flight.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        agreed – watching them in flight making patterns or avoiding / swarming a hawk is pretty spectacular. I would just prefer to watch that over in Europe, where they are native and haven’t destroyed the populations of bluebirds and other native American species.

  • That sounds a lot like the anti-pigeon sound machines that are used in office buildings downtown.

  • “A Murmuration of Starlings” – a great name for a band!

    • jenster8dc

      So would “Anti-Pigeon Sound Machine!”

  • JM

    My partner and I heard this the other night and it didn’t sound at all like native birds — the anti-pigeon sound machines might be it! Do some of them sound like the jungle?

  • jaybird
  • timmyp2353

    I’ve heard it during the day too. It sounds like a pterodactyl or something. It’s really creepy to the point one of my dogs was completely freaked out until we got our of sound range. It has to be a recording or something because the noise changes like 4 times to something completely different.

    • timmyp2353

      Terrible English all around there. Should have been paying more attention to what I was writing.

  • INDC

    I don’t know my bird calls very well, but like others have said this may be a recording because in part of the video it sounds like a bird of prey (say a red-tailed hawk or a kestrel) – which I suppose might be effective in keeping other birds away for fear of being lunch.

  • ZetteZelle

    I have not been close enough to hear the sound. But yesterday morning I was looking up Georgia at the little tower/porch on top of the YES building, and noticed a long line of black birds at the roofline. So if it’s an anti-bird recording, boy is it not working.

  • margaret

    Anti-pigeon recording. Since they’re playing it at night I’m assuming that they’re trying to stop pigeons from roosting there. Usually includes the calls of prey birds – hawks, kestrels, falcons. I’d much rather have the real thing working the territory to keep the pigeons down. Falcons do an incredible job of it. See the falcons who patrol the skies of Pittsburgh here: http://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2016/01/18/love-is-in-the-air/


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