Flying in the wind tunnel

Would you like to do research in the flight tunnel?

External Researchers are also welcome to conduct short- or long term projects in the wind tunnel in collaboration with the MPI for Ornithology. During that period researchers are also welcome to use our guest house.

Please contact Dr. Niels Rattenborg,, Tel. +49 8157 932 279


Wind tunnel

In 1999, the wind tunnel in Seewiesen started its work. It is worldwide the second facility of this kind, following the one in Lund/Sweden. It was installed in an already existing building in such a way that the position of the flight section is located directly under the dome of a planetarium.

The original function of this planetarium was the training of astronauts for space. With the help of a centrifuge they were put into a weightlessness-like condition and had to complete different tests on reaction and orientation.

In the first years of studying bird migration in the wind tunnel in Seewiesen, the focus was on questions of metabolism (heart rates, wing beat frequencies, water balance, fat metabolism): How do the animals manage their yearly long-distance journeys from the point of view of energy? What is the “trick” they use to be able to do this enormous physical work, which would be completely impossible for humans?

loading content