# Number (estimation): Starling Murmuration

## The Problem

In the film clip, how many starlings did the presenter say were in the murmuration? Can you write down this number in digits?

Counting each individual starling in the murmuration would be very difficult, so the presenter gave an **estimate** of the total number of starlings.

**How might you go about checking if the presenterâ€™s estimate was reasonable?**

**Did you know?**

Murmurations always form over the place where the starlings will sleep (roost) for the night. When one individual decides it’s time to roost, the rest funnel towards the ground with one last sweeping motion. Moving together as a large group gives the starlings protection from predators such as peregrine falcons.

## Visualising the Problem and Getting Started

This image was taken from film the clip, which was paused after 5 seconds. It shows a smaller flock of starlings feeding on the ground.

How many starlings can you see? How many can your talk partner see? How did you count them?

**How can you use your knowledge about the number of starlings in the smaller flock to help you check whether the presenter made a reasonable estimate about the number of starlings in the murmuration?**