Flocking/Swarming Behavior of Birds
Swarming Behavior of Birds
We all remember "The Birds" by Hitchcock. Reliving parts of the video recently gave me the shivers! A swarm of birds can be intimidating. But, in real life, I find it very fascinating. When you first notice them, it is at a distance. It almost looks like smoke in the air. Only until the radical movement of what you thought was smoke continually shifts, do you realize it is birds. It is the "synchronization" of their performance that is curious. How do they move so fast and not fly into each other?
Photo credit top left:(Richard Barnes)
Of course, fish and other under water creatures perform a similar behavior but it is called shoaling and schooling. This swarming or flocking behavior is indeed a science. In fact, computer simulations and mathematical models which have been developed to emulate the flocking behaviors of birds, can generally be applied also to the "flocking" behavior of other species. As a result, the term "flocking" is sometimes applied, in computer science, to species other than birds.
According to Wikipedia, Flocking behavior has rules:
1. Separation (behavior) - avoid crowding neighbors (short range repulsion)
2. Alignment (behavior) - steer towards average heading of neighbors
3. Cohesion (behavior) - steer towards average position of neighbors (long range attraction)
With these three simple rules, the flock moves in an extremely realistic way, creating complex motion and interaction that would be extremely hard to create otherwise.
There is a theory known as the Browian motion. Scientific studies have been done to model how individuals form swarms through escape and pursuit interactions. Such research has been done via Brownian motion on locust swarms. Brownian motion (named after the Scottish botanist Robert Brown) is the seemingly random movement of particles suspended in a fluid (i.e. a liquid or gas) or the mathematical model used to describe such random movements, often called a particle theory.
THE BIRDS 1963 - Alfred Hitchcock
More amazing entertainment from our fine feathered friends!
Link to Collective Behavior
- Swarm of Birds Take Out Tree
Swarm Of Birds Take Out Tree!
- Onionesque Reality
The Working of a Bird Swarm
- Principles of Collective Animal Behavior
Understanding how coordinated patterns emerge from a mass of interactions between individuals poses a difficult problem. The regularity of collective animal behaviour leaves us feeling that there must be some unifying laws which govern these differen
- Swarm Intelligence
- BBC Programmes
- Huffington Post
300,000 swarm over Denmark. Be sure to watch the video.
- Live Leak
Just click here: Fascinating!
Birds in Rome
Fascinating video of swarming birds
Flocking "emerges" from simple rules instinctively followed by each bird: keep a precise distance away from and stay aligned with your nearest neighbors, and avoid predators.
There is a list of types of soaring birds, which are birds that can maintain flight without wing flapping, using rising air currents. Many gliding birds are able to 'lock' their extended wings by means of a specialized tendon.
CHARLES LINDBERGH said
"I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes."
By Charles Lindbergh, Interview shortly before his death, 1974