Pelicans use wind from ocean waves to save energy
Today’s Video of the Day from UC San Diego describes how pelicans seem to effortlessly glide along the crests of ocean waves close to shore.
The experts found that pelicans use wind updrafts generated by the waves to conserve energy as they fly. This technique is known as wave-slope soaring.
“There’s a community of biologists and ornithologists that studies the metabolic cost of flight in birds that can use this and see how their research connects to our estimates from theory,” said study lead author Ian Stokes.
“Likewise, our model generates a basic prediction for the winds generated by passing swell, which is important to physicists that study how the ocean and atmosphere interact in order to improve weather forecasting.”
“This is an interesting project because it shows how the waves are actually moving the air around, making wind,” said Professor Professor Drew Lucas.
“If you’re a savvy bird, you can optimize how you move to track waves and to take advantage of these updrafts. Since seabirds travel long distances to find food, the benefits may be significant.”
Video Credit: UC San Diego
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