Why birds fly in a wedge?

Flying in the autumn sky flocks of birds – this is a usual phenomenon that can be observed every year. Birds fly over towns and villages, leaving behind his Northern Home to go to winter in warmer climes.

Some species, mainly small birds that eat insects leave their nests disjointed or formless packs. But larger species such as wild geese, swans, cranes, act in a different way. Lifting into the sky, they form a wedge, keeping to such forms of construction throughout the flight. But why would they make a flight like that?

It turns out that this form of construction swarms are not random. In nature generally found little happens, and as flocks of birds – this form is in practice extremely effective.

The flow of air in flight

For small birds any particular build of the pack is really inefficient, and large individuals significantly benefit flying wedge. Such a construction optimizes air flow, thereby minimizing energy expenditure of individual birds. Of course, that the cranes do not make preliminary calculations of aerodynamics – they just fly so, because you feel that you can fly them physically easier. It was proved by instruments that the researchers attached to the IBIS departing flight to the South.

Interesting fact: when a bird flies slightly behind and to the side slightly from the other birds, she picks up the ascending vortex flows from it, that makes the flight easier. If a bird flies strictly behind, on the contrary, it should make an extra effort to extinguish these eddy flows, which in this case interfere with the normal flight.

In order to make the flight the most simple for each major species, generating tangible ascending and descending flows during flight, the birds in the wedge sinhroniziruete also movement of wings. Perhaps many of the nuances of schooling of flights are laid on the level of instinct, but a lot of the bird just learns in the course of the flight, feeling what the manage easier and is more complex. Large birds are smart, well trained creatures, it is not surprising that they quickly learn how to improve their innate skills.

Follow the leader

The pack follows a leader on the rise

Also, the birds in the flock instinctively follow the leader, which each individual must constantly to see during the flight. The construction of the wedge allows you to see the leader and all of his maneuver, and timely to adapt to the changes of the course leader. It is so convenient that modern military pilots piloting the fighters, too, prefer to stay in a wedge.

Energy saving

Continuing with the peculiarities of piloting fighter planes, it is necessary to specify one more important point. Pilots are well aware of the fact that flying wedge saves fuel, in this case, each plane slowly consumes the fuel in its tanks. Birds, too, can save power, moving at this calibrated building. Aerodynamic flow ahead of flying comrades support the stability of their flight, and this is important, given that flights can occur many thousands of kilometers.

The greatest burden falls on in-flight ahead of a flying bird, the leader. He sets the rhythm and cuts through the airspace, passing flows then flying individuals. The leader is the strong, healthy bird that can easily withstand such loads. When the leader gets tired, his place at the front of the wedge may be the time to take another bird from the group leaders.

It is also effective when high loads have strong, resilient individuals, yesterday’s juveniles and weaker birds can fly, using the flows, spending a minimum of energy. Thus, to reach the goal, maybe the whole pack and lost in the process of flights will be minimal. It is important to maintain livestock.

Why don’t all birds fly in a wedge?

A flock of pigeons

As shown, the construction of the wedge is relevant only for large birds, it is effective only if individuals have sufficient mass. Small birds collide with other aerodynamic phenomena in flight due to their small mass. Wedge completely useless, so they fly separately or use other ways to build the pack.

Thus the major migratory birds use the building in the form of a wedge, as it is most effective for them. In this case, they get a number of advantages: always see the leader, can use the flows from the stronger birds flying ahead. This variant of the build can be considered genetically determined, but some things are gregarious birds have to learn in the course of the flight, for example, effectively use streams and energy from ahead of flying individuals.

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