This slow-motion footage of a dove in flight is certainly worth watching for its artistic and technical merit (be sure to bump the resolution up to 720p), but it's also a great opportunity to understand some of the science behind the bird's aerial abilities.

Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics walks us through what we're watching:

Note how its wings flex through its stroke and the way the wings rotate over the course of the downstroke and reversal. There is incredible beauty and complexity in this motion. The change in wing shape and angle of attack is what allows the bird to maximize the lift it generates. Note also how the outer feathers flare during the downstroke. This promotes turbulence in the air moving near the wing, which prevents separated flow that would cause the dove to stall.

The video up top was filmed by William Hoebink and Xander van der Sar for the Flight Artists Project at Wageningen University. And just for kicks, here's another dove shot by an entirely different team of videographers, only this time it's a lateral view (in this video, I found it even easier to see the wing rotation mentioned by FYFD). Don't you just wish everything could be filmed at 1500 frames per second?

[The Flight Artists Project via Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics]
Top video by William Hoebink and Xander van der Sar; lateral view by David Fischer