|Flocking Habits of Migratory Birds - C. C. Trowbridge 1915 Wikimedia|
A study by Dr. Stephen Portugal and his team, as reported in the journal Nature provides some better answers. They planned to use light weight data recorders attached to the backs of birds which flew in formation. The big technical problem - how to capture the birds to retrieve the data, as transmitters would weigh too much for the birds to carry. The answer was to use captive-bred ibises. They used captive-bred northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), a species being reintroduced in Europe after being extirpated for 400 years. They were already trained to follow human foster parents leading them with ultralight aircraft from breeding areas in Austria and Germany to wintering grounds in the Italian region of Tuscany. They were easy to tag before flight and to find after landing.
|Flight of Northern Bald Ibis - NPR|
|Northern Bald Ibis - Wikimedia|
In the words of Bill Bryson, "Life just wants to be: but it doesn't want to be much." Hang in there little buddy. You may be having a bad hair, or rather feather day but you have an important role in the world, even if it isn't as a leading man or lady. You are leading us into an understanding of bird flight.
For more details go to the Nature article, then the NPR All Things Considered story.