In the end he didn't have to wear a beak. But Vladimir Putin did don white overalls and big black goggles as he took to the skies over northern Siberia in a motorised hang glider to help endangered cranes begin their migration to wintering grounds in Iran and India.
Unfortunately no one had told the young birds, who only formed up behind Russia's stunt-loving head of state on his second time in the air. On his first flight Putin was accompanied by only one of the Siberian white cranes.
Putin blamed strong winds for the initial failure of the birds to fly with him. But he described the cranes as "pretty lads" when journalists asked what he thought of them after landing.
The motorised hang glider – in which he was accompanied by the seasoned pilot Igor Nikitin – proved a handful. Putin said it was harder to control than a jet fighter.
The Guardian has the story: Link