Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Maybe Bird Scientists Are Killing The Birds

"One key to the insights here is a small, dark room with two 1,000-frames-per-second cameras, developed by the military to study ballistics, which slow high-speed action in high resolution. Wild birds in flight are misted with a fog of vaporized olive oil, which is illuminated by a green strobing laser operating in tandem with the camera. The system allows researchers to track the movement of misty air around the birds, showing where they are generating lift and drag. It led to the discovery here of a vortex on the leading edge of bird wings, which adds to a bird’s lift. The birds, ranging from delicate diamond doves to burly ravens, have crystal sensors surgically implanted in their pectorals and elsewhere that measure muscle contractions as they fly… Birds are also put in wind tunnels and photographed at high speed so researchers can see in detail how they perform at 20 miles per hour or more. They are also fitted with tiny masks that measure metabolism."
I don't think we have to look much further into what's killing birds in Arkansas and Louisiana or, most recently, Sweden (Jeez!). Seems like the scientists at the University of Montana Flight Laboratory probably have something to do with it.

10 Comments / Post A Comment

Tulletilsynet (#333)

In life as in literature and on album covers, mass bird deaths are not uncommon.

Dave Bry (#422)

You're right. The 5000 on New Year's Eve was striking. But now that we're down to reporting an instance of 50 dead birds, that's, what, barely two pies?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Kidding. I just try to link to that Barthelme story every chance I get.

Dave Bry (#422)

Yes. That is a good thing to do. But I think you're also right to point out that mass bird deaths are not uncommon. All the bird scientists interviewed in all the coverage take pains to say the same. And i wouldn't be surprised if 50 birds die at once every day somewhere on the planet. Which is not to say that i'm not convinced that the world is ending this week. But, you know…

SpruceBringsteen (#7,838)

You are my imaginary internet boyfriend for linking that.

jolie (#16)

'tiny bird masks' – KILLING ME

deepomega (#1,720)

They also knit tiny bird gloves.

Smitros (#5,315)

Let's not forget about the big fish kill, either.

MatthewGallaway (#1,239)

I love birds and hate the idea of them dying, but anything to contemplate 'Eight Miles High' (either version!) for a few seconds is maybe worth it.

josh_speed (#97)

"[birds] are misted with a fog of vaporized olive oil" <–This is not science. This is marinade.

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