Dr Lydia France
Lydia studies how birds land on specific targets, and is interested in quantifying the wing motion associated with braking during flight.
She works with Harris Hawks in a new motion capture facility, where small reflective markers are placed on the hawks’ feathers and tracked by 20 cameras in a flight lab. Landing is an important behaviour that comes with high risk of dangerous collision, and her research records the complex wing morphing birds use to negotiate the unpredictable aerodynamic conditions involved with decelerating flight at an extreme angle.
Using a combination of fixed perches and moving perches, she is also looking into how optic flow variables are used during the landing manoeuvre and how different braking strategies are used in different circumstances.