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Aerodynamics

The cost of flight in flocks

There are well-known aerodynamic and energetic benefits to flying in an orderly formation. By contrast, it seems that the flocking flight seen in pigeons is metabolically expensive. So why do they do it? See Letter p.494

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Figure 1: Flight formations and clusters.

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Correspondence to Geoffrey Spedding.

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Spedding, G. The cost of flight in flocks. Nature 474, 458–459 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/474458a

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