Believe it or not, birds have flown right into airplanes (or maybe it’s the other way around) since the days of Orville Wright. As one of the men credited with having invented powered flight, Orville hit a flock of winged creatures right at the onset of aviation, possibly giving birth to this undeclared conflict that has lasted for more than a century now.
It is estimated that in the U.S. alone, there are over 13,000 bird strikes per year, with the total between 1990 and 2019 being, according to the FAA, 227,005. Between 1988 and 2019, close to 300 people have lost their lives because of bird strikes, and 271 “civil aircraft either destroyed or damaged beyond repair.”
With those numbers behind it, the phenomenon could be an extra cause of stress for people who hate flying. The pilot of this F-15C Eagle does not seem to be part of that select group, though, as he casually flies over the Royal Air Force Mildenhall base in the United Kingdom, a place clearly cherished by birds as well.
When the shot was snapped at the beginning of November, the plane had just taken off from the runway to take part in an Agile Combat Employment exercise called Castle Forge.
Despite sharing a relatively small airspace, neither the birds nor the pilot were harmed during the making of this photo, aptly titled by the U.S. Air Force “flying with the flock.”