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Turning is crucial for animals, particularly during predator-prey interactions and to avoid obstacles. For flying animals, turning consists of changes in (i) flight trajectory, or path of travel, and (ii) body orientation, or 3D angular position. Changes in flight trajectory can only be achieved by modulating aerodynamic forces relative to gravity. How(More)
The analysis of terrestrial locomotion over the past half century has focused largely on strategies of mechanical energy recovery used during walking and running. In contrast, we describe the underlying mechanics of legged locomotion as a collision-like interaction that redirects the centre of mass (CoM). We introduce the collision angle, determined by the(More)
Hummingbirds (Trochilidae) are widely known for their insect-like flight strokes characterized by high wing beat frequency, small muscle strains and a highly supinated wing orientation during upstroke that allows for lift production in both halves of the stroke cycle. Here, we show that hummingbirds achieve these functional traits within the limits imposed(More)
Various flight navigation strategies for birds have been identified at the large spatial scales of migratory and homing behaviours. However, relatively little is known about close-range obstacle negotiation through cluttered environments. To examine obstacle flight guidance, we tracked pigeons (Columba livia) flying through an artificial forest of vertical(More)
Avian flight far exceeds our best aircraft control systems. We have conducted a series of experiments at the Concord Field Station demonstrating the extraordinary maneuverability of the common pigeon, showing it darting through tight spaces and recovering from large disturbances with ease. Our goal is to understand how to make small fixed-wing aircraft(More)
The complexity of low speed maneuvering flight is apparent from the combination of two critical aspects of this behavior: high power and precise control. To understand how such control is achieved, we examined the underlying kinematics and resulting aerodynamic mechanisms of low speed turning flight in the pigeon (Columba livia). Three birds were trained to(More)
To navigate through the world, animals must stabilize their path against disturbances and change direction to avoid obstacles and to search for resources [1, 2]. Locomotion is thus guided by sensory cues but also depends on intrinsic processes, such as motivation and physiological state. Flies, for example, turn with the direction of large-field rotatory(More)
Flying birds rely on visual cues for retinal image stabilization by negating rotation-induced optic flow, the motion of the visual panorama across the retina, through corrective eye and head movements. In combination with vestibular and proprioceptive feedback, birds may also use visual cues to stabilize their body during flight. Here, we test whether(More)
Flying animals must successfully contend with obstacles in their natural environments. Inspired by the robust manoeuvring abilities of flying animals, unmanned aerial systems are being developed and tested to improve flight control through cluttered environments. We previously examined steering strategies that pigeons adopt to fly through an array of(More)
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