Wednesday, December 17, 2008

V Formation

I got started on this because I always wondered why birds fly in a V formation.

Birds fly in a V formation so they can go farther. The V formation makes it easier to fly. The front birds make the air easier for the birds in back to fly through.

Birds take turns flying in front. There is no leader.

Birds also fly in a V formation for communication. When they are migrating, it helps them stay together.

List of birds that fly in V formation:
*Canada Goose
*Snow Goose
*Sandhill Crane
*Whooping Crane
*American White Pelican

I got this list from Birder's World.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 Cool Things About Flocking Birds

There are a lot of cool things about birds and their flocks. Here are 10 of them.

1. Birds fly in flocks because they don't want to be eaten by predators.

2. Large flocks of birds don't have a permanent leader. Sometimes flocks of geese or other birds will have a leader for a little while but the leader will change as the bird in front gets tired.

3. Birds decide where to fly on their own but they follow rules about how to fly near their neighbors.

4. Birds who fly behind the leader use less energy.

5. Small birds bunch up into ball-shaped flocks when predators are near.

6. Falcons and other flying predators are afraid to hurt themselves by flying into the ball. They will try to attack birds at the edges.

7. When birds are scared, they will only follow other birds who are flying closer to the middle of the flock and not the ones flying away from the middle.

8. A man named Craig Reynolds came up with three laws of flocking. They are : separation -- birds have to give everyone enough space to flap their wings, alignment -- everyone tries to go in about the same direction, and cohesion -- try to stay together!

9. Craig Reynolds made a computer model of flocks called "boids". It was used to make computer-generated flocks of bats and penguins in the movie Batman Returns and used in other movies too.

10. Here is a cool animation of his boids.

A lot of the cool facts I learned came from The Straight Dope

Monday, December 15, 2008

Falcon Attack!

Here is a cool video that shows how birds make a ball when they are attacked. Enjoy the movie!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Huge flock of starlings!

There are birds who live in Europe (and some parts of the U.S.) called starlings. They make large flocks. Here is a cool movie that shows them.