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Birds flying in cloud?

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Birds flying in cloud?

Old 18th Sep 2015, 09:40
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Birds flying in cloud?

Whilst gliding a couple of weeks ago, I was sharing the thermal with a couple of buzzards. When we close to cloudbase (approx 3500ft QFE, 3900ft QNH), one buzzard flew into the cloud to the point that it was fully obscured from view.

Has anyone else seen birds flying into cloud?
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Old 18th Sep 2015, 09:57
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I've hit one, at night.
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Old 18th Sep 2015, 10:18
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It's a well known fact that migratory birds have to be Instrument Rated to allow 24 hour ops.!!!

PS Hit a bird one night passing 15,000ft. while during 300kts (us That is - not the bird,)

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Old 18th Sep 2015, 11:23
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I've had a bird strike at night, in cloud!
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Old 18th Sep 2015, 13:21
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Since it is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.....

One of the discoveries from radar stations was that birds flew at night and in cloud!
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Old 18th Sep 2015, 16:37
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Quite common to hear geese at night in cloud, apparently in formation.
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Old 18th Sep 2015, 18:19
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I climbed into cloud in a glider with a vulture formating on my wingtip, he (or she) didnít seem bothered and stayed there for a couple of minutes before departing.

I understand that birds are magnetoceptive, so they might be able to fly without visual references using the dip/variation of the local field.
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Old 19th Sep 2015, 10:16
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Birds certainly fly above cloud. Not sure they are any more equipped than we are to fly in it without the relevant instrumentation. At least not for very long, though I'd think the results of disorientation would be less serious for a bird than for us.
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Old 19th Sep 2015, 16:20
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SSD

Yes you can see them stalling and spinning out the base all the time ))
I had a bird strike at night flying into Gloucester in a Seneca twin
Hell of a bang and mess when we landed.
I was really surprised because I thought only owls flew in the complete black ?

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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 09:17
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It's a little known fact that in WWII there was a secret programme, in which my Dad was involved as a pilot, which tried to exploit pigeons' navigational skills to assist bombers returning to England with either the navigator or his equipment, or both, out of action.

In essence, the trials involved carrying a pigeon and 50m of light but strong string. If lost, the pilot would slow to just above the stall, and launch the pigeon through the DV window, with the string attached to one leg and an eyebolt under the DV window. All that the pilot had to do then was to follow the pigeon until he was visual with the FIDO flarepath (usually Woodbridge) that the pigeon was trained to home to.

The relevance to the thread is that the pigeons proved themselves capable of flying and navigating in cloud, at night.

(The experiment failed, however, when it was found that the pigeons tired very quickly when flying at the stall speed +5Kt of a Lancaster, in order not to be overtaken or run down by it. They were then trained to walk about on the top of the panel, pointing at the FIDO airfield. But since they were not airborne, in the purest sense of the word, they quickly lost interest and went to sleep, so the whole scheme was abandoned in late 1944.)
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 12:01
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That has to be one of the most bird-brained schemes I've heard of from WWII, or one of the best leg-pulls I've heard this year. But if the pigeons could orient themselves in flight without landmarks, I find that astonishing.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 12:12
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With 4 bluddy great Merlins thundering away a few feet behind them (can't have been far if the pilot was to keep the pigeon in sight) I suspect they flew hell for leather directly away from the Lanc, looking back in alarm over their shoulders/wings!
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 12:44
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Here are the never-before-seen, hidden-camera snapshots, of just exactly how pigeons have such marvellous direction-finding ability .....

http://constantine.typepad.com/.a/6a...ac28970c-800wi

http://api.ning.com/files/wZ-6jkfovA...secrets782.jpg
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 13:08
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Oh, c'mon Capot.
"It's a little known FACT (my emphasis) that..."
Care to cite a credible reference for that, mate?

'Homing Pigeons' can indeed navigate their way home from starting points many hundreds of miles distant - places they've never been to before.
More recently, it's also been found that they can be trained to spot small vessels (and wreckage) in poor visibility from surveillance and search aircraft.
They are suitably rewarded each time they get it right.

A neighbour used to race pigeons and, for some of the longer races, accepted a loss-rate of around 2%.
Those lost ones and their progeny are the ones that infest every nook and cranny of our city parks and buildings.

I'm aware of some public-spirited(?) citizens that get up very early in the morning to distribute a daily ration of Warfarin pellets.

Last edited by Stanwell; 22nd Sep 2015 at 13:25.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 13:22
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Not only can they fly in cloud/in the dark, but also in iceing conditions, I have a $34,000 repair bill to prove this! One tip tank trashed, leading sdge dented, cowling destroyed and guts and crap all over the airframe along with front end damage on one engine, this when only doing 220 kts IAS , a flock of Canada Geese of course! At least seven strikes counted, might have been more but too much crap to really tell.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 15:02
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Oh, c'mon Capot.
"It's a little known FACT (my emphasis) that..."
Care to cite a credible reference for that, mate?
Just watch it, sunshine. That piece of aviation history came straight from my Dad, and he was a Squadron Leader and flew the trials aircraft. That good enough for you?

He had a very soft spot for the poor little pigeon, flapping 19 to the dozen at the other end of the string, struggling to match the Lanc's speed. On one occasion, he could see that the little creature was exhausted, so he reduced the RPM while trying to maintain altitude. As a result the aircraft stalled, and it was only the efforts of the pigeon that prevented a fatal nose drop.

How dare you imply, from a position of total ignorance, that all this is not fact? Live and learn, is my advice to you.
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