Paragliding world champion Horacio Llorens lives out a lifelong dream to fly among the birds by taking part in the Black Sun starling phenomenon.
From the dawn of mankind, human beings have been obsessed by the desire to fly. Mythology shows us that our ancestors looked to birds for inspiration. Spanish paraglider Horacio Llorens, a student of bird flight and how it relates to his sport, has dreamed of flying among a bird flock ever since he started paragliding 17 years ago.
To be a bird is a dream.
It’s why I paraglide, because I feel like a bird when I’m flying.
In the winter, thousands and thousands of starlings migrate to the warmer climate of the Tøndermarsken in Southern Denmark from Norway and other Baltic nations. The Black Sun is the spectacle of all these starlings flying together and darkening the dimming sky. The effect of them all flying together can be mesmerising with the formations they create in the sky.
With an electric-powered paraglider Llorens was able to fly among the starlings and get to experience just what it’s like to be so close to a flock of birds. “Usually you can fly close to three or four birds, but being able to fly with thousands of them is just a unique opportunity.”
“I really don’t want to disturb the birds, I just want to try to fly with them and feel as a part of the flock,” Llorens explained. “Try to be one of them for a little while, you know? Even just for a few seconds. There was a huge feeling of complicity in the air. I think that once they recognised I wasn’t a predator, the starlings also enjoyed flying with me.”
Llorens had permission to fly with the starlings from the Danish government’s Ministry of Environment, while one of Denmark’s leading ornithologists Frands Sorberra was on hand to make sure all the necessary precautions that were needed to ensure the safety and well-being of the birds were taken.