A YouTube user was leaving her place of work at the Town Center of Virginia Beach at about 12 a.m., on April 18, 2015, when she looked up and spotted a UFO circling and hovering around the spire of the nearby Westin Hotel building.
Rojas remarked on the similarity of the video to another he saw several years ago showing a UFO over Las Vegas, near the New York-New York Hotel and Casino (see video below).
“It immediately reminded me of a similar video that witnesses had given me a few years back of a strange object flying around the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip.”
The video shows the UFO circling and hovering around a flashing red light on the spire of the building. The object speeds off after hovering for some time and then returns to hover and circle around the building for several seconds before speeding off again.
Viewers on YouTube contributed suggestions on what the object might have been. Someone thought it was a bird.
“Looks like a bird probably a falcon [sic], the bright light from the top of the building is reflecting off the bird. If you look close you can make out the wings flapping.”
Others said it was a drone and a few suggested it was a hoax.
“Wow! Lol, definitely not a hoax. I was not alone while I was filming this, and I have heard from people online who saw it.”
Rojas agreed it was unlikely the video was a hoax, pointing out that Mandy AMF’s account had been active since August, 2011, and that most of the videos previously posted to her channel were “typical family videos,” indicating that the UFO sighting was incidental.
“The video, to me, does not appear to be CGI either. So, at least I am convinced it is not a hoax.”
Speculating on what the object might be, Rojas noted it appeared it was reflecting rather than generating its own light. According to Rojas, the object appeared to be reflecting the bright lights at the top of the building. He also observed that the object behaved unlike a bird, contrary to the opinion of the YouTuber who thought it was a bird and claimed that he could make out wings flapping.
One must disagree with Rojas’ opinion that the behavior of the object “would be abnormal for a bird.” Contrary to Rojas’ opinion, the back and forth and hovering behavior looks very birdlike.
Some raptor species, such as “hovering kites,” (Elanus spp.) have the ability to hover for extended periods as part of stalking behavior, termed “helicoptering.” Thus, the flight behavior observed in the video is not unlike the behavior of a raptor, specifically a kite, attracted to a bright light and finally flying off after having satisfied its curiosity.
The building, according to Rojas, quoting the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, is the tallest in Virginia, about 508 feet tall. A bird much smaller than a fairly large raptor would have been less visible from a height of more than 500 feet.
While wing flapping motion is not obvious, there are moments one gets the impression of flapping motion. But the unsteadiness of the hands of the person shooting the video and the distance from which the object was filmed makes it uncertain whether there really was flapping motion.
Rojas also considered the possibility that it was a drone without lights and referred to a comment by a viewer on YouTube that it could have been one of the drones of an organization called Aerial Virginia.
“When visiting the Aerial Virginia website, it appears they do fly drones around to capture dramatic video of the area, including the Town Center area. Could it be one of their drones?”
In conclusion, it appears likely that the UFO was a bird. The pattern of erratic but deliberate circling and hovering is suggestive of a raptor inspecting an unfamiliar sight. The way the UFO suddenly dives out of sight, returns to inspect before diving out of sight once again simulates the fickle pattern of animal curiosity rather than a human-controlled drone.
[Image: YouTube/Mandy AMF]