Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Scientist TV - Look ma, no wings: Secret of great tit flight revealed

It might seem like birds flap their wings constantly during flight. But a new movie, that slows down the movement of a flying great tit, reveals that it often folds its wings while in the air.
Captured by Remco Brand and Ansa Fiaz, as part of the Flight Artists project at Wageningen University, the award-winning clip illustrates a turning manoeuvre often used by small birds. According to Anders Hedenström from the Animal Flight lab at Lund University, the baby great tit in this video is retracting its wings to modulate its aerodynamics before landing. However, the move isn't only used to change direction. Hedenström claims that birds also do this while cruising in the air to reduce drag. "Swallows and hirundines are often seen having a brief pause in the middle of the upstroke," he says.If you enjoyed this video, check out a goose flying upside down or a somersaulting fly captured in slow-mo, two other winners from the Flight Artists competition.

No comments:

Post a Comment