1 Here I am holding an Egyptian Swift, an old breed of pigeon, probably originating in Egypt. It is known for its beautiful range of colors, athletic ability and distinguishable short beak.
2 This is the production studio manager, Kitty Joe Sainte-Marie. She is holding "ET" the pigeon. He is a Budapest Short Face Tumbler, a breed of fancy pigeon developed in Budapest, Hungary.
3 This is a Satinette pigeon, AKA "Socks on the Beach". This is a type of Oriental Frill pigeon. Related to Owl and Turbit pigeons, these little birds have long been prized by royal courts.
4 This is an Arabian pigeon with "boots", the elegant white clusters of feathers around his legs.
5 The bird on the left is a Russian High Flyer, an extraordinary athlete with amazing flying skills. The checkered pigeon on the right is a Damascene, an ancient breed of bird loved for its beauty.
6 Here I am holding another fancy pigeon, with Duke Riley behind me. Fancy pigeons are domesticated varieties of the wild rock dove, bred by pigeon fanciers for size, shape, color, and behavior.
7 Here is Duke Riley holding a pigeon, and carefully putting an LED light on its leg before the performance. These tiny lights replace the small leg bands historically used to carry messages.
8 Duke shows me how to properly hold a pigeon.
9 These birds are so beautiful. There are hundreds of pigeon breeds. This one is such a gorgeous gray color.
10 It is easy to see some of the LED lights the pigeons are wearing on their legs.
11 These pigeons are gathering for dinner. The pigeon is a granivorous bird - they like to eat seeds and cereal grains, sunflower, wheat, barley, millet and peas.
12 A pigeon's diet contains about 50-percent grain crops, and 10-percent oil seed, rich in vitamins B and E. Corn is also a good source of vitamin A. An average adult sized pigeon can eat about 30-grams of food each day.
13 This is a view of the attendees at the waterfront, ready to see "Fly By Night." The performances are free, but seats must be reserved online, and there’s a long waiting list.
14 Here's another audience view before the performance. The show begins at dusk, when the lights can be seen.
15 Here I am with the Bronx Pigeon Crew.
16 Before the performance begins, all the pigeons sit atop their coops on the Baylander, a decommissioned Vietnam-era Navy ship.
17 Duke, and some helpers, built this row of coops on the top deck of the Baylander.
18 This is the pilot house of the old Baylander.
19 This is a pretty view of Williamsburg Bridge in the back. The Williamsburg is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Brooklyn.
20 Here is a view of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
21 The pigeons are patiently waiting for the show to begin.
22 As night falls, Duke stands on top of the birds' 80-foot-long complex of coops, ready to give the birds their cues.
23 Here they go - all of the pigeons take flight.
24 Duke, holding a long bamboo pole with a black garbage bag attached to it, cues the massive flock of pigeons to twirl, swoop, and glide above the East River.
25 The coops’ rear windows look out onto Wallabout Bay, where there used to be an artificial island called Cob Dock that housed the Navy’s first messenger-pigeon fleet.
26 The pigeons are in flight - it looks like hundreds of shooting stars.
27 Every show is different. Each breed of bird has a different flight habit. And, varying tide levels and winds affect the birds’ behavior, so while some birds will fly in figure-eights, others will fly high, or stay with the flock.
28 It is amazing to see all these birds flying over Wallabout Bay - there are at least two-thousand birds in the flock.
29 The lights become more visible as the sky darkens. The show lasts about 30-minutes.
30 So many birds - close to two-thirds of them are "rescues" - many of which were purchased from fanciers who could no longer keep them or care for them properly.
31 Here, they appear as fast moving dashes against the sky - what a lovely night for this bird show.
32 This is the end of the performance - as a shower of lights falls onto the Baylander.
33 After the performance, the birds return to their coops, which were all lit up for guests to see.
34 This photo is a closer look of the front of a pigeon coop as birds begin to return home.
35 Here is another view of the pigeons in front of their coop after the performance.
36 Here's a beautiful night view of the Baylander.
37 I posed for a quick photo in front of the coops after the show.
38 This is the "Fly By Night" mobile coop. All the birds have their light bands taken off a couple times a week so that they can bathe - they're actually quite clean.
39 Here I am with Creative Time Executive Director, Katie Hollander, in front of the Baylander.
40 And here I am with "Tofu" the pigeon.