Life in the fast lane: Eagles flying around sun halo a mere coincidence, says Perhilitan

IPOH: A large group of eagles seen flying around in circles as a halo appeared around the sun caused a sensation in WhatsApp chat groups and social media recently.

In a series of photographs and videos which went viral, the convocation of eagles were seen flying in graceful circles high in the skies above Bagan Serai, Perak.

If the appearance of so many eagles in one place was not enough, a halo or rainbow was seen around the sun, which made it a truly extraordinary sight.

However, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) wildlife officer Hasdi Hassan said the simultaneous appearance of the eagles and the sun halo was a mere coincidence.

Hasdi, who is also in charge of the National Wildlife Rescue Centre, said eagles are large birds and cannot flap their wings continuously.

"If they do so, they will burn energy quickly – but they still need to fly to search for food.

"So what happens is that they use thermal columns (rising pillars of hot air caused when the ground is heated by sun rays) to glide.

"They glide in circles individually, or in large numbers, to get higher elevation from one thermal to another," he said when contacted on Friday (Nov 29).

A viral post stated that a large "circle of light" occurred in Bagan Serai on Tuesday (Nov 26) and "hundreds of eagles" were seen flying around the circle.

Hasdi added that it was normal for eagles to use thermals as a "corridor" to move from one location to another to search for food.

"It is also normal for eagles to glide in large numbers, especially when there is an abundance of food," he added.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica online, a halo is an "atmospheric optical phenomena that results when the Sun or Moon shines through thin clouds composed of ice crystals. These phenomena may be due to the refraction of light that passes through the crystals, or the reflection of light from crystal faces, or a combination of both effects."

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Eagles , Sun halo , Perhilitan , Thermal columns


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