Photo: Levitating sparrow

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Our magical photo of the day offers a lesson in the benefits of hopping.

While photographer Rick Derevan humorously calls this photo "Levitating Sparrow," the cute white-crowned sparrow does beg the question: Why do sparrows hop instead of walk?

Darren Oakley-Martin from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds explains:

"Generally speaking, smaller, lighter birds hop whilst large heavy birds walk or run. By evolving this way, both groups use less energy to get around. Most small garden birds, like tits and finches, hop rather than run. This is because the majority of them spend most of their time in trees. Hopping is a useful way of getting quickly from branch to branch."

Now if we could only learn why they levitate.

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