Fact of the day: Why birds fly in a V-formation

6.2.14



Flying birds often arrange themselves into a crisp, perfect V, so why not an S?

Now the first extreme close-up of birds flying in a V formation is providing some answers. Scientists have found that birds position themselves and time their wing beats so perfectly that, according to aerodynamic theory, they minimize their energy use. It's a task that requires each bird to monitor subtle changes in its wing mates' flight and alter its own path and stroke accordingly.

The new results "once again remind us that animals are much more complicated … than we often give them credit for," says Kenny Breuer, a professor of engineering and ecology at Brown University who was not involved with the study. "They're reacting in very sophisticated ways to maintain these V formations."


(via usa today)