The Why of the V

Researchers believe they now have a definitive answer for why birds so often fly in a V formation. Scientists fitted a flock of northern bald ibises with monitors that record each bird’s position, speed, and heading in flight as well as every wing flap. The data show that each bird positions itself and times its flapping to take maximal advantage of the upwash—upward moving air—generated by the bird ahead of it. As a bird flies forward, itpushes air downward beneath its wings, but at its wingtips the air is actually pushed upward. The V formation thus allows birds to conserve energy and increase their flying range. More… Discuss


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