Many of us watch birds take off into flight right before our eyes every day, but it happens so quickly that we don’t get a chance to observe the mechanics responsible for jump-starting the bird’s flight technique.
In this episode of Smarter Every Day, Destin shows us a small bird taking flight from the palm of his hand in front of the lens of a Phantom slow-motion camera capable of recording at an unbelievable 20,000 frames per second.
As we can see, the bird jumps out of his hand to get above it and provide ample room for its wingbeats. Once in the air, it reduces drag by pointing its tail feathers down toward the ground and takes advantage of its significant wingspan-to-body-size ratio to flutter away effortlessly.
In some cases, watching things happen in super-slow motion reveals a whole new world that otherwise escapes us.