Monday, July 24, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Why do birds fly in a 'V' formation ?


Posted on Tuesday, 21 January, 2014 | Comment icon 11 comments

The 'V' formation is a familiar sight. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Dnrivera
Scientists have been able to determine the advantages of the distinctive formation for the first time.
Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College investigated the phenomenon by closely observing a flock of birds that had been trained how to migrate by following a human in a microlight aircraft.

Special data loggers were attached to the birds to record information such as speed, position and heading. The results suggested that the classic 'V' formation is optimal for enabling each bird to take advantage of the lift gained from the bird in front of it.

"They're seemingly very aware of where the other birds are in the flock and they put themselves in the best possible position," said Lead researcher Dr Steven Portugal.

The research follows on from a previous study in which pelicans flying in formation were found to have lower heart rates then they did when flying by themselves.

Source: BBC News | Comments (11)

Tags: Bird

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by ChrLzs on 20 January, 2014, 8:57
Mythbusters - who are surely beyond criticism as they are on TV - also covered it in 2011:
Comment icon #3 Posted by zebra99 on 20 January, 2014, 10:02
I wonder how much this cost in taxpayers money/subsidy to 'discover' what is already known?
Comment icon #4 Posted by lightly on 20 January, 2014, 12:58
I guess I missed the results of the first study.. so thanks for posting this Still. I'd like to see someone figure out how flocks of birds and schools of fish swoop about in perfect unison! Ever see that (or film)? They seem to move at exactly the same time in exactly the same pattern. I suspect their sensing of air OR water currents might play a role ?? .... Or better yet, their sensing of magnetic fields.
Comment icon #5 Posted by ChrLzs on 20 January, 2014, 22:31
...I'd like to see someone figure out how flocks of birds and schools of fish swoop about in perfect unison! Ever see that (or film)? They seem to move at exactly the same time in exactly the same pattern. I suspect their sensing of air OR water currents might play a role ?? .... Or better yet, their sensing of magnetic fields. There is some work already done, eg this: http://dl.acm.org/ci...on.cfm?id=37406 but that is a scientific article that would require payment to get - if you are genuinely interested, pop along to your local library and tell them you'd like to see it - they will norma... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by acute on 20 January, 2014, 22:59
I am more fascinated by the birds following their human foster parent who is in a microlight!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Calibeliever on 21 January, 2014, 16:41
Was listening to an interview with him on NPR. Accroding to Portugal it has long been the accepted wisdom that birds fly this way for reasons of reducing drag but this was the first opportunity they've had to actually confirm it with data.
Comment icon #8 Posted by ancient astronaut on 21 January, 2014, 16:49
Because it's too hard to fly in an "S" formation??
Comment icon #9 Posted by Sundew on 21 January, 2014, 18:49
I thought they already knew this because the lead bird drops back to be replaced by those in the back from time to time; without the lift the other birds provide it is the first to tire.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns on 21 January, 2014, 21:45
Well, why NOT fly in a "V"? Actually, why not fly in a "Q" formation? I'd pay to see that.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Paranomaly on 22 January, 2014, 12:27
This was taught to me in grade school, 25 years ago. Not news.


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

5948519
256114
168280

 
Mystery woman 'wails through letterboxes'
7-23-2017
Several households in England have been plagued by a woman crying through their letterboxes at night.
Robot ventures inside Fukushima reactor 3
7-23-2017
Scientists in Japan have identified what could be fuel debris within the devastated nuclear reactor.
Public names locomotive 'Trainy McTrainface'
7-23-2017
A recent poll in Sweden has shown, once again, why asking the public to name anything is a bad idea.
Did sea creatures push US in to Vietnam War ?
7-22-2017
Back in 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident resulted in a renewed commitment to war with Vietnam.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Stretchy batteries
Posted 7-23-2017 | 0 comments
Scientists have come up with a way to make batteries and their cases stretchy.
 
Counting to one billion
Posted 7-22-2017 | 1 comment
How long would it take to count to one billion and has anyone ever managed to do so ?
 
Dolphins beach themselves to catch fish
Posted 7-21-2017 | 0 comments
These remarkable dolphins have come up with a unique way to catch themselves a meal.
 
Do not microwave an airbag
Posted 7-20-2017 | 2 comments
The Slo Mo Guys capture what happens when you put an airbag in a microwave.
 
How do fireworks get their colors ?
Posted 7-19-2017 | 0 comments
Fireworks are well known for their colorful explosions, but where do the colors come from ?
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Spider signs
7-21-2017 | Michigan
 
My ancestry is calling me
7-21-2017 | Morgan Hill, Ca
 
I can hear someone
6-27-2017 | Maryland
 
My dead father spoke to me
6-27-2017 | Alabama
 
Is my child predicting our death ?
6-27-2017 | Lincoln Park, MI
 
Craig is here
6-10-2017 | Phoenix AZ
 
We saw the same thing!
6-10-2017 | Pooler, GA
 
 
Three female faces
6-5-2017 | Illinois (IL)
 
Encounter at 3:33 AM
6-5-2017 | Budapest
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ