News & Events
Biomechanics and Behavior of Free Flying Swallows
Release time:September 11, 2017

Topic: Biomechanics and Behavior of Free Flying Swallows

Date:Sep 13, 09:00~11:00  


Bio of the Speaker:  

Tyson L. Hedrick - Associate Professor/Lab PI in the University of North Carolina Department of Biology  

Prof. Hedrick began a Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard University where he worked under Prof. Andrew Biewener at the Concord Field Station. After completing his thesis, Aerodynamics, biomechanics and neuromuscular control of avian flight, he received a Ph.D. in June of 2004. He then worked as a postdoctoral research assistant with Dr. Thomas Daniel at the University of Washington with funding from the National Science Foundation and DARPA. He started his latest job as an Assistant Professor in the University of North Carolina Department of Biology in July, 2007.

His research focuses on how animals produce and control movement. This expands out into a broader interest in the structure and properties of biological networks as well as how they generate robust outputs in the face of uncertain circumstances and components of varying quality. In a more general sense, his lab examines animal flight aerodynamics and flight behavior across the breadth of flying organisms, from tiny parasitic wasps to fruit flies to large birds and bats.


Swallows are small (~12 gram) insectivorous birds notable for their colony nesting, long distance migrations and extremely low wing loading conferring extraordinary low speed maneuvering performance. Dr. Hedrick’s group has pioneered use of three dimensional (3D) videography in the field to recording the flight trajectories of wild, freely-behaving swallows in their natural environment. Recordings of swallows during high speed intraspecific chases, insect prey capture and foraging in windy conditions are used to examine the free-flight performance of these birds, compare it to laboratory wind-tunnel recordings, identify the biomechanical and physiological factors limiting free-flight performance and quantify energy extraction from the wind shear at ground level.