“Think the tree that bears nutrition:
though the fruits are picked,
the plant maintains fruition.
So give all the love you have.
Do not hold any in reserve.
What is given is not lost; it shall return.”
― Kamand Kojouri
“Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne, Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.”. These are the lines from an 1844 poem by James Russell Lowell. This briefly touches through ours innate nature full of contradictions that we talked about recently. The basic theme is that no matter how dark it gets, the end is for piety and truth and for the people of consciousness. That’s today’s night to ruminate over. God bless : )
Original photograph by MHP. Edited by yours truly.
In front of my apartment, birds occasionally come and sit on the terrace window and chirp and spend time on that terrace. And there you go! that’s the birth of another episode of the ponder series. I have always felt that birds always instill a feeling of freedom and a sense of liberation, maybe because of the sight of the way they fly or could be a perception of a kind of deliverance they naturally effuse. But have we thought about the engineering behind their navigation and direction sense?. It’s truly a breathtaking sequence to ponder upon and I would like you to walk you through some interesting tidbits which probably you might have not previously thought about.
(A photograph that I took from Buyukuda Island in Istanbul. It’s also called Princess Islands.)
Right from college, I’ve been fascinated with biomimetics. My bachelor’s degree academic seminar that I presented at university was on this topic. Now, almost a decade from college, albeit my professional life is on an entirely different field, I’m still very inquisitive on this topic. I regularly try to read and keep up with the latest trends in this field. I’m intending to write more about the case studies I had done myself in this domain. By definition,
Biomimetics or biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
Biomimetic engineering methodologies basically study patterns or entities in nature and try to derive engineering applications in order to solve real-world problems and assist people. So, I came to read about bird navigation along these lines and I was actually blown away by how they worked. Most of the migratory bird species, who normally fly these long-distance flights have some sort of “body clocks” in them. They wonderfully assembly at a particular place and usually flock together. There are many amazing aspects such as how they save fat in their bodies during these long journeys. For instance, a hummingbird flying a 3000 km distance between Alaska and Hawaii would have to beat its wings 2.5 million times and as we know, the bird weighs only a few grams. The bird faces a danger of rising temperatures but if we look at it, their metabolic activities are designed in such a way that the body temperatures of birds rises to around 62 degree Celsius. The metabolic activity of hummingbirds is around 100 times that of elephants.
Birds also have special gliding and flight techniques to cater to these long journeys. They sometimes fly in a “V” shaped formation, which aeronautical engineers estimate to achieve a saving of 23% in the flock. (Aeronautical engineer Dietrich Hummel’s study)
Among other factors, another major one is the perception of direction which is mandatory for such long distance flights. Modern research has shown that the earth’s magnetic field is also used by the birds. The direction is determined by sensing the change in the earth’s magnetic field. Findings show that even a 2% difference can be assessed by birds. National Geographic has a good piece on this topic if you’d like to delve in more.
Another photograph that I took during a cruise at Princess Islands, Istanbul.
To summarize it, a lot of factors help birds with their navigation not limited to, the sun, sense of timing, location of the stars, ultraviolet rays, polarised light, sounds of very low frequency, sounds such as of waves and thunder coming from very far away, the magnetic field of the earth, gravity, meteorological assessment, favourable winds, characteristics of the ground below etc.
I’m not getting into the technicalities too much, but as we can see even something we seemingly deem as trivial such as the flight of birds is in fact on a divine plan and arrangement if we really think deep about it.
Read more about the ponder series by The Border of a Mind Studios here. Hope you find this interesting and worth reading. Other Writings from the ponder series:
Jan 11, 2019, Umm Al Quwain
“You only truly possess that which you cannot lose in a shipwreck.”
― أبو حامد الغزالي
How often do you get a nice little hot tea in a mud cup sprinkled lavishly with saffron. Not too often ; )
This illustration is inspired by a photograph I took in 2013 from a beach at Fujairah.
” If you’ve a family that loves you, a few good friends, food on your table and a roof over your head, you’re richer than you think”
– Unknown author
Original photograph by Mervin Harif.
Couldn’t agree more =)
Beams of light could be captured and crafted well to transform chores and normal subjects to be a ‘painting’ in the realm of our mind. Haven’t we ceased to be in awe of such simple luxuries when we are engrossed into our routines? May your day be beautiful.
Original photograph by Nasna Nassir.