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)