There was a lot or rumor about the Festo Smartbird in the last weeks. They actually built a nice bird, mainly by simulating and trial and error (see the movie posted lately Video).
Now scientist go to the roots, letting an owl fly through a bunch of cameras measuring the movement.
"It's not as though we are going to apply these results to an A380 – its flight characteristics bear no resemblance to those of an owl. But the research results can be applied to smaller, unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs,"
Here is the full article: The secret of efficient bird flight
It will probably take some time till they get results (also depending on the owls :-), but good to see there is progress!
Reinventing the wheel?
scientist-photographer Étienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)