Plastic bag murmurations at sunset

All photos courtesy of Alain Delorme

Witnessing a starling murmuration ought to be on everyone's bucket list.

Even though scientists don't completely understand the mechanics of this fascinating avian behavior, one thing we know for sure is that it's one of the most beautiful animal behaviors exhibited on the planet.

Inspired by this phenomenon, the work of French photographer Alain Delorme may appear to feature tens of thousands of these starlings swarming in a ubiquitous murmuration, but take a closer look ...

Plastic bag murmuration detail

That's right! Those aren't starlings — they're plastic grocery bags.

Now before you fret about the idea of all those plastic bags whipping aimlessly through the sky, you should know that no fresh air was harmed in the making of this project! Delorme used Photoshop to give these bags the appearance of a mumuration.

In an age where an increasing amount of plastic waste piles up in our landfills, clogs our oceans and adversely affects the quality of our air, these plastic bag murmuration photos are a poignant metaphor for all of the nature that is being displaced in the process.

Plastic bag murmurations with statue

Continue below to see more of these plastic grocery bag mumurations, and be sure to check out Delorme's website!

Plastic bag murmurations with windmills
Plastic bag murmurations with clock tower
Swirly plastic bag murmurations
Plastic bag murmurations with construction machinery
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

These starling murmurations are not what they appear
These breathtaking images may appear to be starling murmurations, but take a closer look!