Or is that the rules of the air? (As demonstrated by the flock of Budgerigars, above and below, photographed earlier this year by Clare)
While you were whistling at your aunt’s caged pet parakeet, you probably had no idea that it was a mastermind of flight. But Australian scientists, studying Budgies in the wild, have discovered a few simple rules that seem to dictate how flying birds avoid careening into each other:
- They veer right, like drivers in the United States.
- They shift their flight pattern slightly higher or lower.
Absent some instinctual traffic patterns like these, the skies would be a virtual mosh pit for slam-soaring birds. (Which … actually sounds kind of cool.) Naturally, researchers are already seeking to apply these findings, namely to how mechanical drones can be programmed to mimic bird flight and escape collisions.