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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Tue, 22.09.20 13:00
ES Picture of the Day 22 2020
EPOD - a service of USRA

The Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) highlights the diverse processes
and phenomena which shape our planet and our lives. EPOD will collect and
archive photos, imagery, graphics, and artwork with short explanatory
captions and links exemplifying features within the Earth system. The
community is invited to contribute digital imagery, short captions and
relevant links.

EPOD 20th - Birds on the Move

September 22, 2020


We’re celebrating 20 years of Earth Science Picture of the Day during
the month of September! Today’s photo features a popular EPOD from the
past. Thanks to all of our followers (on the blog, Facebook, Instagram
and Twitter) for supporting us. Thanks also to all of you who’ve
submitted your photos. We’re most appreciative. This EPOD was
originally published February 10, 2020.

Photographer: Marco Meniero
Summary Author: Marco Meniero

Shown above are images of flocks of starlings as observed earlier
this winter from the Viterbo Airport Control Tower in Viterbo, Italy.
Even if you live in the city, you’ve likely noticed the choreography of
bird flocks (most likely starlings or pigeons) as they twist and
turn across the sky. But what drives their movements? How do they
coordinate with their feathered flight companions? Why is it that
birds of a feather flock together?

In a study published several years ago in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University
of Warwick suggest that these birds move in such a way as to achieve
the maximum density allowing them to still have a good view of their
surrounding space. This will occur they receive light from many
directions, a condition known as marginal opacity. It seems to be
that changes in the relationship between shadow and light alert the
birds to fly in such a way to achieve this. The scientists decided to
test their hypothesis using a computer simulation.

Virtual starlings were therefore been programmed to follow their
closest companion and move to the area of the flock from which they
have access to the greatest amount of information. The results of the
experiment showed that programmed in this way, the virtual starlings
join in compact groups and move in a way that’s superimposable to how
real starlings are observed to fly. Note also the rose-colored Belt
of Venus and the rising of the Earth’s shadow. Photo taken on January
15, 2020.
* Viterbo, Italy Coordinates: 42.4207, 12.1077

Related EPODs

EPOD 20th - Birds on the Move EPOD 20th - The Puddling of
Butterflies Leafcutter Bee Crucial Corbiculae
Bioluminescence off Southern California Encore - Diatom Colony

Animal Links

* Animal Diversity Web
* ARKive
* BirdLife International
* Bug Guide
* Discover Life
* Integrated Taxonomic Information System
* Microbial Life Resources
Earth Science Picture of the Day is a service of the
Universities Space Research Association.

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