Incredible one-of-a-kind photo captures flock of birds flying alongside plane

  • A photographer captured a rare moment of a plane being covered by a flock of birds
  • It was captured in Hungary and shows starlings seemingly surrounding a British Airways plane
  • The photo is actually an optical illusion

Published on May 21, 2024 at 3:46 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on May 22, 2024 at 12:08 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

A photographer captured a rare photo of birds and a plane sharing the sky.

The flock is huge, spanning the entire length of the aircraft.

Some may think this is a sweet moment of winged things flying together.

But in reality, a birdstrike of this magnitude could have had catastrophic consequences.

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Although they both enjoy flying, birds and planes do not make a good combination when sharing airspace

When a bird collides with an aircraft, known as ‘birdstrike’, it can result in disaster.

And not just for the unlucky bird.

In the US alone, there are over 13,000 birdstrikes a year.

Birds can cause damage by being sucked into a jet engine or crashing into the plane’s windshield.

While the number of major accidents caused by birdstrike is low, it has caused numerous plane crashes.

So we can only imagine how stressed the pilot of this British Airways plane was, right?

It’s clear the Boeing was taking off, which is when jet engines are especially vulnerable to damage by birds.

A bird being ingested into the engine at this stage could displace a fan blade, leading to a domino effect.

In fact, this photograph is an optical illusion.

It was captured by Adam Samu on June 15, 2004, at the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport in Hungary.

In the photograph, a huge flock of birds is seen crowding around the British Airways Boeing 757-236 as it takes off.

But these birds are starlings, which are between 7 and 9 inches in size.

So that would have to be a pretty small aircraft for this photo to make sense.

In reality, the birds are much closer to the camera than the plane, but the perfectly timed photograph created this incredible optical illusion.

It’s been confirmed that no humans or birds were injured during this phenomenon.

Maybe they thought they were following their giant mechanical mother.

# Tags - Airplanes


Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.