Have you ever wondered how birds fly?
Birds are lightweight and have wings that help them do it, but there is a lot more going on physically that makes flying possible for them. They have several adaptations that allow them to fly and remain in the air and it all has to do with strength and weight.1
Birds do have light bones and feathers. This allows them to be light enough to fly and also reduces drag while they’re in the air. Their bodies are also shaped in a streamlined way, which also helps air glide more easily over them. Meanwhile, their sternum is where their flight muscles attach, which helps them flap and get enough thrust to get them airborne.1
When birds fly, several things are going on. Their wings are angled forward so that the wide, flat part of the wing is parallel to the ground. This allows them to cut through the air without much resistance. As they fly, the air glides over their wings and it glides faster over the top of the wing than the bottom of it. This causes more air to be underneath the wing, which creates push and helps lift them into the air.2
You might notice some birds gliding or soaring in the air. When birds soar, they are riding a thermal, which is an air current. This allows them to stay in the air and fly without having to do much work themselves.1
Birds have some amazing adaptations, like being able to regulate their temperatures in extreme weather. Read more on our blog.
Want some hands-on learning?
Check out our owl pellets! We have several packs of owl pellets so you can learn more about owls and the prey they eat. You never know what you’ll find when you dissect a pellet!