January 14, 2015 | Georgie

Would a lorry carrying a flock of birds change weight if the birds were flying? This is a riddle that has perplexed scientists until now.

Thanks to a newly developed device, researchers have demonstrated that the weight of a container fluctuates as the birds inside flap their wings. The tiny device measures the force as a bird's wings flap. Results showed that whilst hovering, birds create double the lift during the downstroke of the wings so that during an upstroke they don't need to lift their weight.


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The research with Pacific parrotlets will help monitor the flight performance of miniature drones.


Image: Flickr/Trotaparamos

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