DailyDirt: Birds Do The Darndest Things
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
It’s fascinating to watch birds, not just because birds can fly, but also because some birds are incredibly intelligent and can perform some pretty cool tricks. If you can step away from playing with Angry Birds for a bit, watch a few of these much calmer bird videos.
- A flock of starlings is called a murmuration — and when a large group of these birds swarms around, there’s a really cool “phase transition” effect. Thankfully, these are birds and not killer bee formations…. [url]
- Crows can use a vending machine and create tools without much training. Don’t make crows angry, because crows could plot their revenge — and also teach their kids to get back at us. [url]
- Earthflight is a series of videos featuring birds from all over the world. The bird’s eye view of South America looks like they put a GoPro helmet on a condor. [url]
- To discover more interesting biological curiosities, check out what’s currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]
By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.
Filed Under: birds, crows, earthflight, intelligence, murmuration, smart animals, starlings
Comments on “DailyDirt: Birds Do The Darndest Things”
I 'd call photoshop on that murmuration thing...
That murmuration effect looks so unnatural. is it real?
I think a group of entertainment execs should be called a Damnation.
Actually, I think they should be called decedents.
Re: Re: Re:
i think just a “troop” as in a troop of apes works pretty well for them, considering in internet terms these people are even less evolved than cavemen and have quite the talent for flinging poo
Flocks are locally 2D, globally 3D
If you look at flocks of birds, you?ll notice that each bird only has immediate neighbours in a 2D plane, not completely surrounding them in 3D space. So the flock is effectively like a ?sheet? of birds, albeit one that can reorient itself and curl over etc in 3D space.
PS: if it were to come to an intelligence contest between flying birds and cetaceans (whales, dolphins), I?d go with the avians any time.
PPS: I can?t see the point in non-flying birds, myself.
Re: Flocks are locally 2D, globally 3D
… PPS: I can?t see the point in non-flying birds …
But penguins are so adorable! 😛
And I’m going to have to try to find some videos of schools of fish to see if fish exhibit the same 2D-plane behavior you describe…
Re: Re: Flocks are locally 2D, globally 3D
I don’t think so. I’ve seen Discovery/Natgeo and the likes enough to notice that the fiches work in 3D formations.
My bet is that the birds fly in a sheet style formation because of aerodynamics. Think about migratory birds for instance. The birds in the front receive most of the air friction so they need to be fairly rested. It’s said they keep switching positions and the leader goes to the back row to rest. Well, it makes sense, in the back row they’ll get the “vacuum” and they’ll need to spend much less effort flying (think Formula 1, the car behind gets this advantage). Also, if they keep the sheet formation they’ll act as one giant wing which will probably lower the overall energy they need to spend flying (this time I’m making an assumption, I’m not sure about that).
Fishes on the other hand have different needs. As far as I know they swim in large schools as a defensive mechanism against predators. When some larger predator attacks they can put the old and sick fishes to the outer defense layer while the younger and fertile ones go in the middle reducing the losses to the ‘bad’ part. I think it’s much more difficult to hunt a solid mass of fishes than a plain “sheet” of fishes. In a 2D formation all you’d have to do as a predator is swim through while the compact 3D build forces the predator to attack the sides and turn, making it less effective (obviously, it depends on the size of the predator).
All of them obviously move in 3D but as a group it makes all difference depending on what the goal is. It would be interesting to see if migratory aquatic animals behave like the birds while migrating from one point to another. While the water density is different, the fluid dynamics might be the same (at different speeds of course).
that murmuration thing scares the hell out of me, it looks like the frickin’ smoke monster from Lost, i’d probably freak out if i saw that in person