ENGINEERS were left stunned when they discovered the root cause of mysterious power interruptions in a small village.

Experts have been probing regular power trips affecting 50 homes in Airth but have been at a loss to explain power supply interruptions for a while.

Regular checks by SP Energy Networks engineers returned no issues across numerous trips, with the mysterious interruptions only lasting a few minutes at a time.

With incidents often happening at dusk, lead district engineer Neil McDonald set out to investigate while on his way home and what he found stunned his colleagues back at base.

A swooping mass of thousands of birds akin to the sights seen on a David Attenborough programme were dancing around and on the overhead power cables causing them to bounce – and power to trip – in response.

Neil managed to capture the whole spectacle – known as a starling murmuration – on camera and wowed his colleagues.

He said: “It was a mass aerial stunt by these amazing birds and in all my 14 years working for SPEN, I have never seen anything like it.

“For all the birds looked small, the sheer number of them caused the wires to bounce up and down as they danced on and off.

“There’s actually three wires between those poles and when they clash together, the power will go off for around 10 seconds or so at a time.

“That’s what’s been happening quite frequently, with some of these clashes causing wider damage and longer outages.”

Engineers are now looking at ways to discourage the birds from causing issues, working with RSPB Scotland for advice.

Neil added: “We’ve successfully managed to move on roosting geese in the past so hopefully our starling community can be encouraged to safely relocate somewhere that doesn’t impact our power supplies, and local communities, quite so much.”

It is believed starlings group together to seek safety in numbers against predators such as peregrine falcons who find it hard to target one bird on the middle of a hypnotising flock.

They also gather to keep warm at night.

Toby Wilson, senior conservation officer for central Scotland with RSPB Scotland, said: “Starling murmurations are one of the great spectacles of the natural world and can be enjoyed across the UK during the autumn and winter months.

“I have heard of one or two instances of them causing local issues with power lines but this is the first I am aware of in this area.

“Unfortunately, starling murmurations are becoming a rarer sight, as starling numbers have suffered serious declines over the past few decades due to loss of habitat and changing farming techniques affecting food supplies.”

He added: “Obviously, we recognise the need to maintain energy networks and hope the birds can be sensitively encouraged to relocate to a suitable, nearby site.”