Jarlath’s feeling supersonic as ‘hedgehog’ photo goes viral

Published Thursday, 22nd November 2018 in About SRUC news

Birds and moon aligning into what looks like a hedgehog. Photo taken by Jarlath Flynn
Birds and moon aligning into what looks like a hedgehog. Photo taken by Jarlath Flynn

Business and SharePoint Analyst Jarlath Flynn has been taking the twittersphere by storm after a photo he took of a starling murmuration went viral.

The keen photographer makes a yearly trip to Gretna Green to watch mass gatherings of birds as they swoop and dive in unison. This year saw around 60,000 starlings take to the skies shortly before sunset, proving a photogenic backdrop for those viewing the spectacle.

Visitors were treated to a visual display, with the birds and moon aligning into what looks like a hedgehog moving across the night sky.

Jarlath posted his image online which has been met by a fantastic response. After being approached by the Daily Mail who shared the photo, it has been embraced by twitter users across the globe, reaching more than 150,000 people on the platform alone.

The photo has also been used by hedgehog charity, which has used the image to boost a petition to highlight the decline in hedgehog numbers and what we can do to help.

Jarlath said: “I’ve been overwhelmed at the reaction the photo has had. The best news story to come out of this was when a hedgehog charity asked me if they could use the photo to boost a petition to save the hedgehog. Within a few hours of the petition going live a few thousand signatures were added on the back of my photo and most people donated £2 each.  Hundreds of comments were left about the photography alone. Random strangers have also messaged me so say thanks for making their day ‘happy’!”

Starling murmurations can occur for a variety of reasons, including allowing birds to share warmth and pass information to each other, or as a means to stay safe from predators such as peregrine falcons. November is an ideal time to spot these aerial displays, as autumn roosts are beginning to form, with larger and larger numbers of birds joining together over time. Some roosts can have over 100,000 as birds join to find safe and sheltered places to roost.

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