Fewer things are more mesmerizing than watching massive flocks of starlings go into murmuration mode — a defensive measure designed to ward of predators. A recent video shot in Utrecht, The Netherlands is a perfect case in point.
Both manage to transcend the reaction times of their species when they execute maneuvers. They do it by keeping their eyes on the group, and working something called a maneuver wave.
Birds in flocks make turns as a collective. Ants build, supply, and defend their burrows. How does a group make better decisions than any one of its members? Welcome to the hive mind.
The flocking behavior of birds, fish, and other animals is the result of "collective decision making." Now, researchers have created a computer model of how hundreds of birds can decide, seemingly simultaneously, to switch directions or land.