If you happen to be in the New York City area between this weekend and June 12, be sure to look up in the sky around the Brooklyn areas during sunsets. New York artist Duke Riley is unveiling a spectacle this weekend which employs 2,000 pigeons equipped with three-lumen LED lights to perform an avian-powered light show.
Called “Fly by Night,” Riley told the New York Times that the show is designed to let the birds’ random flight patterns take its course. The birds will be released from a Vietnam-era Navy ship in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and although they have not been taught any specific choreography, they are trained to return to the ship post-show.
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Riley says the show’s inspiration came from an old military manual on training pigeons for night missions. After the idea sparked, it look more than a year for the project to come to life; six of those months were spent recruiting the “performers,” most of which were what Riley called “rescues.”
When they’re not performing, the pigeons live in an 80-foot-long complex of coops. They also get light bands removed from their talons twice a week for routine cleaning.
Tickets to the event are free but reservations are required. At time of publishing, there are only waitlist tickets available, but even if you don’t have waterfront seats you might still catch a glimpse of an urban shooting star.