Data + Design Project

Geometric Order Amidst Starling Chaos

Wednesday 05.09.2012 , Posted by

A murmuration of starlings may seem random, but one artist has found the geometric order to this phenomenon of nature in her work. About six months ago a video flooded the internet of two women out on a canoe while a murmuration of starlings danced above their heads. After the video went viral, murmurations have been a hot topic online and even in art. Catherine Ulitsky, an artist living in western Massachusetts, captured the unique flock patterns of the starling murmurations on camera and gave order to the seemingly random group by painting connections between the birds. In each photograph, Ulitsky uses vibrant colors and straight lines to create beautiful geometric patterns in one of natures great phenomena. “Carefully observing natural phenomena reminds me constantly of the limitless complexity and wonder of the world we inhabit,” said Ulitsky of her work.

See Also A Visual adventure in geometry and light

Though starlings are not native to North America, there are now over 200 million of the European birds in North America after 100 were released in New York City in the late 1800’s. By nature, these birds fly together in large flocks called murmurations and mimic each other in a follow-the-leader style… and sometimes even create shapes they see in the world around them. Catherine Ulitsky found inspiration in these shapes to create her art. After graduating from the Maine College of Art, she now creates book art and her work on starlings, entitled Flocks.

The beautiful viral video that turned many people onto the Murmuration patterns of Starlings:

Brad Woodard

Written by Brad Woodard

I am a graphic designer and illustrator who never seems to have enough hours in the day. When I am not designing something, it would be safe to assume I am either reading or writing about it. All of my work is made possible by cereal and Johnny Cash songs. See evidence of many sleepless nights in my portfolio at

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