How do birds fly?
Not all birds fly. Some birds fly for short distances, and some birds can fly for long distances. Some birds can fly very high, and some birds stay close to the ground.
To fly, birds need (1) wings, (2) flight muscles, (3) a streamlined body, (4) thin, light or hollow bones, and (5) strong but light flight feathers.
Birds need flight feathers on their wings and tail that let air flow through and around the feathers.
Birds flap their wings up and down to go forward and upward. It is the downward movement that lifts the bird upwards. It is the upward movement that provides the power and the rest before the next downward movement.
Catching pockets of air, called air currents, means that they can soar with their wings open and move where the wind goes.
Their tails are used to steer or stay level in the air.
Partially folding their wings into a vertical position slows the bird down.
Smaller-winged birds flap their wings faster than larger-winged birds.
Smaller-winged birds can dart and turn more quickly than larger-winged birds.
Birds with large, narrow, tapered, and pointed wings can soar for long distances.
The shape and size of birds’ wings determine how they fly in the air, and for how long.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM