Pigeons aren't often characterized as a particularly beautiful member of the animal kingdom (perhaps unfairly so). But every weekend from now until June 12, pigeons will be the subject of wonder and awe as they soar above New York City's East River.

As CBS New York reports, 2000 trained pigeons equipped with LED lights around their ankles will be the stars of a new art show titled Fly by Night. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting at sunset, the flock will be released from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to illuminate the skies with their aerial choreography routine for 30 minutes at a time.

The project is the brainchild of local artist Duke Riley, who grew up raising pigeons. They were the centerpiece of his previous project, Trading with the Enemy, in which he trained carrier pigeons to fly from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. His latest art project will be performed by birds from his personal flock.

It wasn't too long ago that the U.S. military used homing pigeons for everything from guiding missiles to spying on the enemy. For their new peaceful and artistic endeavor, the birds will take their inaugural flight on May 7 at 7 p.m.

[h/t CBS New York]

Header/banner images courtesy of The New York Times on Twitter.