It’s Sunday, ergo we have a batch of themed bird photos from biologist John Avise. Today’s photos are about flocking in formation. The IDs are John’s; click on the photos to enlarge them.
When birds fly in tandem or in groups, they sometimes save energy by slipstreaming in another’s wake, much as do racecar drivers or racing bicyclists. [Trailing birds also benefit by updrafts from the wing-tip vortices of leading birds.] But trailers also need an unobstructed forward view, which motivates them to move a bit to one side or the other of a lead bird. For larger groups in flight, this behavior can morph into beautiful “V-formations”, much like those used by skilled pilots such as the Navy’s Blue Angels.
Incidentally, do you know why one arm of an avian V-formation is often longer than the other? . . . . . . . Answer: it’s because the longer arm has more birds! [ha ha].
American White Pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos:
More American White Pelicans:
Brown Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis:
Cattle Egrets, Bubulcis ibis:
More Cattle Egrets:
Canada Geese, Branta canadensis:
Three Canada Geese:
More Canada Geese:
Double-crested Cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus:
More Double-crested Cormorants:
White ibis, Endocimus albus:
Snow Geese, Chen caerulescens:
More Snow Geese:
Still more Snow Geese:
White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi:
More White-faced Ibis:
Still more White-faced ibis:
Many more White-faced Ibis: