This is going to feel like stating the obvious, but when birds fly, they need to flap their wings to do so. This is something so basic that even a small child could explain it, right?
It is possible that somewhere out there, there is a bird that has learned to fly through the deployment of other means. Maybe a particle collision ability that helps turn a bird body into a balloon? Sadly, if this bird exists nobody knows about it.
This is why a recent video of a bird in flight has gone viral. In the images, it appears that the bird is levitating rather than flying. A few people wondered; “why was gravity not doings its thing and pulling the bird to the ground?”
Caught On Home Security Camera
A YouTuber named “Ginger Beard” was reviewing his home security camera footage when he spied this feathered friend. The levitating bird was so fascinating that he felt it needed uploading to YouTube, where it picked up over 4 million views!
Even though Ginger Beard had managed to identify why the bird appeared to be floating effortlessly through the air, many YouTubers found themselves baffled by the phenomena. Some accused Ginger Beard of making a fake video, but it’s real. It would take an incredible amount of effort to fake this and the monetization from YouTube ads would never pay for it.
So What Was Going On, Exactly?
The bird was not the first of its kind to learn how to fly without moving its wings. In fact, this particular phenomenon isn’t unique to birds—it was recently observed in a video made of a helicopter taking off.
The helicopter’s rotor blades were also apparently frozen as it took off from the ground and yes, this is impossible. What was really happening was simple; the bird was flapping its wings and the helicopter’s blades really were turning, too.
The camera’s frame rate, however, was synchronized perfectly with the beat of the bird’s wings and the helicopter’s blades. That meant that every time the camera captured a frame of the bird or helicopter in flight; the wings and the blades were in exactly the same position as they had been in the frame before.
An Optical Illusion From Matching Frame Rates
This creates a peculiar optical illusion that makes the bird’s wings and the helicopter’s rotors appear to be stationary even when, in fact, they are not stationary. It’s a very difficult thing to do on purpose. You would need a lot of trial and error with a camera to create the same effect yourself.
Measuring the frame rate of a bird’s wing motion is hard to do. It might be easier to try this with a helicopter where the number of revolutions per minute of the blades is known and documented.
Whether you try to do it at home or not, you have to admit that this YouTube video of the bird is pretty spectacular.