Wild Things: Wildcats, Pigeons and More...- page 4 | Science | Smithsonian
(Cheryl Carlin)

Wild Things: Wildcats, Pigeons and More...

Cleaner wrasse fish, black widow spiders and even bananas made the news recently as part of the latest wildlife research

Observed: The Pigeon Columba livia

The Pigeon
(David Hosking / FLPA)
To V? Flying in the V formation, as geese do, can be more aerodynamic than solo flight, helping each bird save energy.
Or Not To V? But some birds, like pigeons, fly in what is known as a “cluster flock.” In such disorganized groups, says a study from the University of London, each pigeon flaps its wings more often and less completely than when alone, using more energy.
The Question: What’s the upside? That “is currently unclear,” say the researchers, but the less energy-efficient wing strokes may allow for better control within a dense flock, and flocking may help birds find food or deter predators.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus