skip to content skip to search skip to navigation Listen Live skip to logon
Friday 31st October 2014
Max 20°C | Min 15°C

How do birds fly in flocks? Is there a leader?

Question

Flocks of birds tend to move in unison. So do they have a leader which they all follow as they are flying?
Mark, Marble Arch
(James O'Brien: So you want to know if there is such a thing as a Josef Starling?)

Answer

** Definitive **
Name: Gary, Bishopsgate
Qualification:
Answer: It’s a defence mechanism that all birds who flock together have. One bird out of the millions will fly if they see something dangerous and the one close will copy exactly what he does. Each one will just copy what the one in front does.

** Definitive, but in longer words! **
Name: Rob
Qualification:
Answer: Each of the birds follows simple mathematical rules. These are follow the action of the general flock and keep your distance. There’s no one bird that is the leader, but it if a small proportion of the birds change direction, the rest will all follow. A starting point, like Gary’s bird which is startled, will lead to a predictable but hard to measure phenomenon.

Do you agree? Write your answer in the box below…

Comments