Subject: Re: Synchronized diving
Date: Dec 7 21:16:47 1998
From: Michael Price - mprice at

Hi Tweets,

Just had a thought about unison diving in seabirds. It's unison to us, but
is it to the birds?

Consider: a flock of thousands of small Calidris being pursued by a falcon
seems to twist and turn as one entity, but super slo-mo video shows
thousands of different idividuals making decisions to turn in one direction
or another in three dimensions at slightly different times to each other as
each attempts to move in such a way as to interpose a neighbor between
itself and the incoming raptor. The difference in perception (and to the
historic misapperceptions such as a 'Group Mind' controlling the flock's
actions) is in the difference between these birds' and humans' sense of
time: we were simply watching them too slowly.

Is 'synchronised' diving another such human construct? Would a
similarly-slowed video demonstrate a similar lack of unison for diving grebes?

Michael Price
Vancouver BC Canada
mprice at

"She's psychic....we've decided to find it charming."