How birds avoid collision with man made obstacles

How birds avoid collision with man made obstacles
Highlights

How Birds Avoid Collision With Man Made Obstacles. Ever wondered how migratory birds avoid colliding with man-made structures up in the air? Social hierarchies, headed by a well-informed leader, ensure a smooth flight for these birds that naturally travel in groups, new research suggests.

London: Ever wondered how migratory birds avoid colliding with man-made structures up in the air? Social hierarchies, headed by a well-informed leader, ensure a smooth flight for these birds that naturally travel in groups, new research suggests.

The social structure of groups of migratory birds may have a significant effect on their vulnerability to avoid collisions with obstacles, particularly wind turbines, the findings showed.

"We wanted to understand how different social behaviour of different species would affect the ability to avoid obstacles, such as wind turbines and farms, and how much disruption these obstacles cause to the group structure," said lead author Jamie Wood from the University of York in Britain.

The researchers created a range of computer simulations to explore if social hierarchies are beneficial to navigation, and how collision risk is affected by environmental conditions and the birds' desire to maintain an efficient direct flight path.

"We all know that birds naturally migrate in groups. It is less clear whether this is caused by leaders and followers, or by simple democratic rules," co-author Jon Pitchford from the University of York pointed out.

"Our simulations show that social structure makes an important difference, and that groups with a single well-informed leader are more likely to avoid collisions with wind farms," Pitchford pointed out.

The research was published in the journal Interface.

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