Stunning picture of bird’s amazing upside-down flight

By | May 19, 2009

Stunning picture of bird's amazing upside-down flight

Take a closer look at this stunning photograph of a greylag goose.

Your eyes do not deceive you – this puzzling bird really is flying upside down but with its neck and head twisted the right way up.

The incredible display of mid-flight acrobatics is also a remarkable feat of wildlife photography and stunned the man behind the lens when he looked back at his images.

Brian MacFarlane was simply photographing geese buffeted by strong winds at Strumpshaw yesterday, and did not expect to capture a moment of contortionism.

“The wind was making life difficult for the flying birds,” said Mr MacFarlane.

“Some were expert at controlling their flight, while others were being tossed around in mid-air.

“On closer inspection of the image I realised it had flipped upside down but kept its head the right way up. “Quite a feat!”

Paul Stancliffe, of the British Trust for Ornithology, based at Thetford, was able to lift the lid on the bird’s bizarre behaviour.

“It looks like this bird is in mid-whiffle,” he said. “When geese come in to land from a great height they partake in a bout of whiffling, this involves the bird twisting and turning to spill air from their wings and thus lowering their speed prior to landing. In 36 years of birdwatching I have seen this many times, particularly when watching pink-footed geese on the north Norfolk coast coming in to roost in the late afternoon and evening. I have, however, never seen a photograph of a bird in mid-whiffle like this. It is an amazing photograph.”

via Stunning picture of bird’s amazing upside-down flight – EDP24.

2 thoughts on “Stunning picture of bird’s amazing upside-down flight

  1. Alex

    Amazing photography and hopefully, it’s not manipulated!

    When I was a kid, I used to hear stories that some mystic birds can fly backwards. Now that story seems to be true.

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