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RE: flocking



Jim C wrote, in part:

>As you know, a bird loses significant weight during a long flight, first   
as it burns off fat during the early portion of the flight, then as it   
metabolises and burns off muscle mass later in the flight.  Consequently,   
all the birds' airspeeds will gradually tend to increase during the   
course of a
flight.<

I can understand the argument that airspeed could increase as fat is   
burned off--analogous to a plane becoming lighter and thereby faster as   
it consumes its fuel--but metabolizing muscle would reduce power, and   
it's difficult to see how reduced power could translate into increased   
airspeed. Perhaps adjustments in the arrangement of the flock relate to   
averaging out increased speed during the first phase (fat burning) and   
decreased average speed during the later (muscle metabolizing) phase.