Baby chicks flap their way to the top

We happened to have some very young broiler chickens in the Structure & Motion Lab at the RVC lately, during filming for a new BBC documentary on bird evolution and flight. New RVC postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Ashley Heers (formerly of the Flight Lab at the University of Montana) was there to put them through their motions in using unusual locomotor behaviours such as wing-assisted incline running (using flapping of the wings to help legs push birds up steep slopes). Here are some examples of slow-motion views we captured at 250 frames/second; enjoy!

Wing-assisted incline running (WAIR)

Controlled flapping descent


Good examples of how baby birds, even supposedly clunky broiler chickens, can be capable of surprisingly diverse behaviours– and wings are good for more than just flying!



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Cluck away!