Flock Behavior: Why Birds Don’t Crash Into Each Other
Do you ever watch flocks of birds flying tightly
together and wonder how they maintain their distance from one another? Flying in a tight flock helps birds in a number of ways. One of the most important is that a large tight flock makes it more difficult for predators to pick one of them off in flight.
Scientists knew that birds flying in flocks work together as an organic whole to maintain the flock integrity, and don’t follow a leader. But how do they manage avoiding collisions? They discovered that birds flying in tight flocks like this spectacular synchronous murmur of starlings, are able to make quick turns and altitude changes without collisions with each bird making split second decisions as they determine their relationship to the seven birds closest to them. When within striking distance of another bird, each bird instantly changes altitude and turns to the right.
What birds do intuitively to avoid crashes is what human pilots are also instructed to do when faced with a potential collision!