Does someone know how birds do this? I know how fish can… but how do birds?
Roughly, I can try to explain this.
All this worls because of local infomation: the single bird only looks at his own plasce and what the birds right next to him are doing, but not what the swarm as a whole does.
The general system behind this is called “rubber band and spring ” (I am sorry, I only know the German expression), which means that if a bird is a) too far away from another bird it will fly towards it and b) if it is too close, it will increase the distance a bit. In the zone of the optimal distance the bird immitates the behaviour of their neighbours in front of them. Only the birds at the outmost regions, who can not orientate on their neighbours, as there is no bird in front of them, decide where to fly. It is enough if about 5% of the birds fly in one direction, the swarm will follow.
The same behavioural principles apply to fish, nevertheless I hope I could answer you somehow. I am really no expert when it comes to this, I`m sorry.
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