Taking a rapid series (10 frames per second) of high-shutter speed (1/5000 sec) images of flying birds allows one to see just how birds manage some of their aerial dynamics, like how to land gracefully on a small spot. The test for the birds was to flap-glide-brake from bushes about 25 feet away to land precisely on the edge of a stump feeder filled with delicious suet.
What amazed me was that all five species we observed used the same technique: flap, fold wings in horizontal posture, making them look like a speeding bullet, then brake by spreading wings wide with huge gaps between the flared primary feathers and switching to a vertical posture with outstretched feet. This is the type of flight used by many small to medium-sized songbirds, often viewed as roller coaster, or bounding flight.
Bounding flight like this accomplishes at least two important things: first, it saves energy, 15-20% over the cost of continuous flapping because of the reduced drag during the glide (closed wing) phase; second, it lowers the cost of flying more slowly between closely spaced perches.
Not every approach to the stump was completely graceful, but birds are such adroit athletes, even being slightly off-balance on approach can be immediately corrected.