Stunning pictures show a flock of starlings forming the shape of a giant bird as they fly in formation over a lake in Ireland.
Taken on Tuesday evening (2 March) by photographer James Crombie, the pics show a perfectly synchronised flock of birds flying over Lough Ennell, Co. Westmeath near the town of Mullingar.
As you’ll no doubt agree, the images are pretty amazing.
Credit: Shutterstock/James Crombie
Photographer Crombie has travelled to Lough Ennell around 50 times, trying to find the perfect location for taking pics of the birds.
Crombie, who was recently named press photographer of the year by the Press Photographers Association of Ireland, told The Irish Times: “I’m usually a sports photographer, so for a while I’ve had a bit of time to think about other things.
“I could see they were making shapes. I kept going back, to get the image I had in my head.”
It has taken Crombie months to get the images he wanted, with the photographer claiming to have shot between 400 and 500 frames until he found the perfect pictures.
Credit: Shutterstock/James Crombie
He said: “A friend of mine, Colin Hogg, lives near the lake, and he said to me last year that the starlings would make a great picture.
“They nest in the reeds around the lake, and they move every four or five days, towards sunset, and when they move they make shapes.”
The images shows the starlings sweeping and diving in unison, in a process called ‘murmuration’.
Also known as swarm behaviour, this occurs when hundreds or thousands of animals or entities move together as one.
Credit: Shutterstock/James Crombie
Past murmurations have seen the starlings take the shape of love hearts and even Christmas stockings.
The giant stocking was caught on camera by photographer Ed Sykes, from Halifax, West Yorkshire – and only weeks before the festive period.
He said: “I’ve visited the site to photograph the starlings numerous times over the past couple of weeks.
“As we move into December and build up towards Christmas it’s great to capturesuch an opportune photo.”
Credit: SWNS
Starlings group together as a form of protection against predators, as well as to stay warm and even communicate.
Unfortunately, the creatures are on the list of birds most at risk in the UK, with the starling population falling by more than 80 percent in recent years.
Words: Cilene Tanaka