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Why Did the Starlings Die in Rome?

Margaret Galitzin
.starlings rome

The starlings of Rome making their remarkable murmurations

We call them starlings. The Italians call them storni or, for fun, stormi di storni, clouds of starlings. They are the starlings of Rome, that have come in the hundreds of thousands to make their spectacular swirling dances over the city since the times of the Early Christians.

Each winter, upwards of five million starlings stream into Rome at dusk. Before they roost in the trees of the city for the night, they make a spectacular show for those who turn their eyes upward. It is a marvelous performance, hundreds of thousands of starlings weavingtest and interweaving, cascading and folding, in awe-inspiring patterns called murmurations with the Roman sunset as backdrop.

A dance of sheer joy made daily by creatures whose only purpose seems to be to glorify the Almighty God who made them (see here).

In Ancient Rome, the pagan oracles observed the formations to interpret the wishes of the gods for the Emperors and generals. With Christian times, the omens of the pagan augurers lost their import. But the starlings still came, and the early Christians considered them to be a blessing from Heaven on Rome, seat of Catholic Church.

And so it has continued until the New Year’s Eve that brought in the year 2021.

Dead starlings line the streets of Rome

New Year’s Eve in Rome usually means one huge street festival with food, drink, concerts and massive fireworks displays.

dead starlings rome

The streets of Rome littered with starlings that mysteriously fell from the sky dead

Since 2016 the city administration has actually been trying to ban fireworks. The Italians ignore the decree. Each year the fireworks in the city became more grandiose and impressive (2018, 2019, 2020), drawing tourists by the thousands.

Until New Year’s Eve 2021. This year, due to the coronavirus panic that has unnaturally swept across the world, Rome imposed a 10 p.m. curfew for New Year’s Eve and forbade private fireworks displays. Concerts and spectacles were video-streamed for online viewing.

Despite the ban, Rome remains Rome and there were still private fireworks displays across the city, but nothing so stupendous as in previous years.

This year, however, something very strange happened. Rome woke up to find its streets littered with thousands of dead starlings.

2020 fireworks rome

Rome ablaze for hours in 2020; below, the skies were less bright & streets empty in 2021 with the covid curfew

rome 2021

“It was like a Hitchcock film, there was a lot of blood and the smell became horrible,” said Paolo Peroso, head of the Porta Pia Residents’ Association. “Incredible! Incredible!” cried one man in sad disbelief who was filming the streets even as the birds fell.

The reason for the starlings’ strange and sudden death is not certain. Most of the media blamed the sudden deaths on the fireworks and firecrackers, which supposedly caused the starlings distress and even heart attacks.

It is strange that this is the first year the birds suffered such panic attacks, since every New Year’s in Rome there are dazzling massive displays. This year there were less than normal.

More objective reports simply stated that “the true cause of the deaths remains a mystery,” as mysterious and puzzling to scientists and experts “as the exact way the birds coordinate their murmurations.”

Warning of a chastisement


The streets of Rome littered with starlings that mysteriously fell from the sky dead

What no one speaks of in the already panic-stricken climate caused by virus fears is an impending chastisement from God on Rome.

Multiple prophecies of seers and Saints approved by the Church speak of a great chastisement falling on Rome, which will have abandoned the Faith. St. John Bosco, for example, saw Rome’s destruction where villas and palaces had become the litter of squares and streets.

Then, there is the famous prophecy of St. Malachy who was given a vision of the last 112 Popes starting from his time up to the last (which would be Francis), at which time Rome, “the seven hilled city will be destroyed and the terrible Judge will judge His people.”

There is also widespread belief, well founded, I believe, that the Third Secret of Fatima speaks of the destruction of Rome.

The mysterious death of the starlings of Rome could well be a sign from Heaven of a coming chastisement of unfaithful Rome.

streets rome


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Posted February 12, 2021

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