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Revealed: The mystery behind starling flocks
Date:7/18/2014

organising to achieve a marginally opaque state at which a bird can still see some of the light sky through gaps in the flock and gather information from other birds.

"When we observe a flock of starlings we are actually seeing a 2D projection of a dynamic, changing 3D environment. By developing this model we have been able to simulate this environment and see that when each bird is attracted to the areas in the flock that can provide the most information the result is a cohesive swarm that resembles a large flock of starlings in the wild", comments Mr Pearce.

It had previously been thought that co-ordination of a flock was achieved through birds interacting only with neighbouring members but, argues Professor Emeritus and paper co-author George Rowlands, the new research marks "a paradigm shift in our understanding of how birds organise within a flock as it shows that the local interactions between birds are alone insufficient to explain large-scale flock organisation".


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Contact: Tom Frew
A.T.Frew@warwick.ac.uk
44-024-765-75910
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert  

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