As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Technology reveals how and why some bird flocks fly in a V-formation

January 2014: Researchers have attached custom-built GPS and accelerometer loggers to birds on migration and have gained ground-breaking insights into the mysteries of bird flight formation. 

The light-weight, synchronised GPS and inertial measurement devices, recorded to within 30cm accuracy where a northern bald ibis was within the flock, its speed, and when and how hard it flapped its wings. The precision of the measurements enabled the aerodynamic interactions of the birds to be studied at a greater level and complexity than ever before.

The research, led by the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, proves for the first time that birds precisely time when they flap their wings and position themselves in aerodynamically optimal positions to maximise the capture of upwash, or ‘good air’, throughout the entire flap cycle.

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