How do birds fly in a flock?

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Offline thedoc

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How do birds fly in a flock?
« on: 12/04/2013 16:39:11 »
Beautiful Murmurations - so flocks of starlings flying in the sky. I'd be really keen to understand it a bit more. When I look at the starlings as one moves, the others do to. But how does this murmuration of sometimes thousands of starlings seem to move so gracefully and in such synchrony in the sky?
Asked by Paul Herrington


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

[chapter podcast=1000332 track=13.03.20/Naked_Neuroscience_13.03.04_1000602.mp3]  ...or Listen to the Answer[/chapter] or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 16:39:11 by _system »

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Offline thedoc

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How do birds fly in a flock?
« Reply #1 on: 12/04/2013 16:39:11 »
We answered this question on the show...

We posed this question to hippocampal researcher Dr Hugo Spiers from University College London.
Hugo -   Paul is right to ask about it.  Itís really interesting.  If you think [img float=right]/forum/copies/RTEmagicC_murmuration.jpg.jpg[/img]about animals navigating as they travel over the Earth from one point to another, they do have to synchronise their movements.  They donít knock each other in the air, but itís less of a navigation question.  Actually, itís more of a coordinated motor problem. But I guess, the key thing is how do they know that the bird at the front is going in the right direction?  And do they all decide the direction like a voting system to make the flock go in the right direction?  There must be something going on there.  Very hard to study, certainly, very hard to get at the neuroscience how their brain does that.
Hannah -   Thanks, Hugo and if youíve got any burning questions about your brain and the nervous system, just email them to neuroscience@thenakedscientists.com, you can tweet us @nakedneuroscience, or you can post on our Facebook page, and weíll do our best to answer them for you. 
« Last Edit: 12/04/2013 16:39:11 by _system »