Rare footage shows massive reindeer migration; resembles starling murmuration

Rare aerial footage shows a massive reindeer migration from Norway to Finland.
Rare aerial footage shows a massive reindeer migration from Norway to Finland. Photo: Courtesy of Jan Helmer Olsen

At first glance, a reindeer herd numbering about 3,500 and running in unison closely resembles a starling murmuration, and is equally as mesmerizing.

Rare footage of the amazing sight of the annual reindeer migration from the snowy plains of Norway to Finland was captured by Jan Helmer Olsen, who used a drone for the unusual perspective.

“My footage felt very special as nobody ever manages to see how the herd moves as one body from the air,” Olsen told Caters News. “It’s [like] watching a huge flock of birds in flight.”

Once the reindeer form a long line, heading for their destination, the herd sort of looks like a long line of ants, at least from far above:

“Filming the event was a spur of the moment thing as the reindeer stay well away from urban areas and it’s a trek out to find them,” Olsen said.

“Using a drone was always just a hobby to me, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of the footage as it is so rare for somebody to film from the sky above.”

As the herd of reindeer begin running en masse, it resembles a starling murmuration.
As the herd of reindeer begin running en masse, it resembles a starling murmuration. Photo: Jan Helmer Olsen/Caters News

The images and video were captured near Karasjok, Norway, in minus 15-degree weather. Those on snowmobiles are from the indigenous Sami people who inhabit the Arctic area of Sapmi in parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

From far above, the reindeer herd starts looking like marching ants.
From far above, the reindeer herd starts looking like marching ants. Photo: Jan Helmer Olsen/Caters News

About 2,800 people work full-time at reindeer husbandry, which is legally protected in Norway and Sweden as an exclusive Sami livelihood. The reindeer provide meat, fur and transportation.

And as a herd traveling together, they provide stunning images and video.

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