A photographer has taken a picture of the perfect moment a murmuratuion of starlings formed the shape of what looks like a giant bird.
The incredible image was captured by 53-year-old Daniel Biber, while he was in Spain observing the birds over a four-day period.
While he was there, the starlings appeared to assemble into the amazing shape over Costa Brava, in north-eastern Spain, right in front of Daniel’s eyes.
Daniel managed to take a series of snaps which showed the birds merging into the shape of a giant bird when they were targeted by a predator.
The unique snap has since earned him the top prize in an international photography competition – but, he said he only realised his luck once he reviewed the photographs on his computer:
I was taking pictures of the murmurations over several days – only when I checked the pictures on the computer later, I realised what formation the starlings had created.
I was so concentrated on taking pictures at the time that I hadn’t realised the starlings had created a giant bird in the sky.
It took less than 10 seconds for the birds to create that formation. I realised I had captured a unique snapshot, technically sharp and in high quality.
Mr Biber, who lives in Hilzingen, Germany and runs a bicycle business following a career as an aerospace engineer, has been taking pictures since 1981.
He’s visited the northeast of Spain for a number of years and knew about the fascinating display starlings put on.
He said it took him four days to capture the unique moment after he had to scout out locations and get the lighting right, adding:
I always have at least one camera on me whenever I leave the house and I go on regular holidays to northeastern Spain where I have witnessed fantastic murmurations of starlings over the years.
I’ve tried to photograph the starlings but it never worked out as well as I hoped for. I eventually drove to the spot every day for four days in a row in order to capture them.
I picked a spot where I thought they would turn up and picked a matching foreground and backdrop in order to put them in scene.
It usually happens that birds of prey turn up and the starlings then create bizarre forms. It can be quite erratic and completely random. Sometimes it’s fantasy formations which are then interpreted by our brain.
A number of people were watching this display but they were observing it from other spots and might not have seen what I captured.
The photos were submitted to an international photography competition run by the bird observatory, Vogelwarte Sempbach in Switzerland.
Organisers received a total of 6,800 images for their 2017 competition, which had been submitted by 540 photographers from 15 different countries.
Daniel, who classes himself as a semi-professional photographer, won the competition and said he’s since had requests from experts who want to use his images to prove the difference between real and doctored images.
He’s also had requests from museums about a potential exhibition next year.