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Why birds fly in a V formation

Credit: jacksonwes/Flickr

Credit: jacksonwes/Flickr

Look up to the sky and you might see birds flying in a ‘V’ shape. This pattern is thought to give the birds behind an aerodynamic advantage. Now it seems birds really do fly with a little flap from their friends.

In this Nature Video, we see how researchers at the UK’s Royal Veterinary College put data loggers on ibises to record their position, speed and wing flaps when they migrated. The ibises position themselves within the V so that they benefit from the flow of air created by the bird in front. They carefully time their wing flaps with their flock mates’, to get an extra lift when flying high.

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