My barn swallows travel from NW Washington to Argentina and return, 8400
nautical miles minimum each way, returning to the same hidden nest that
ONLY THEY could know the location of. And, they do it on-time, year
after year, with an accuracy that far surpasses the smartest smart bomb
or navigation system.
The term is CEP - circular error probability. The bird's CEP is
approximately 1 cm at near 100% probability. For comparison, a Trident
II warhead has a CEP of 90 meters; thus, each warhead will impact within
90 meters of the target point with a probability of 50%.
For LGM-30 Minuteman III warheads, the CEP is 275 meters for the three
170 kt W62 warheads contained in General Electric (GE) Mk 12 RVs, and
220 meters for the three 335 kt W78 warheads contained in GE Mk 12A RVs.
Incidentally, the Trident range, at about 4000 nm, while impressive, is
less than half that of the birds.
The Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea, and even the open Atlantic
from the Maritime Provinces of Canada to the northern coast of South America
are regularly crossed by many songbirds. These large open bodies of
not just a physical challenge, but a navigational triumph of immense
proportions, with virtually no navigation landmarks available for
guidance, and terrible difficulties due to wind and weather. These are
the the little ones that are "at the shallow end of the gene pool"
intelligence wise according to K8RI.
I wonder whether his navigational skills are comparable?
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