It’s not how birds that’s important. What’s more important is the physical structure of a bird.
The entire physiological system of a bird is perfectly adapted to support flight and to reduce weight to a minimum.
They are the last of the animals belonging to the dinosaur species that can fly.
And humans for centuries got fascinated seeing birds fly.
Some birds flap, others glide, and some fly silently. But the fundamentals remain the same.
Physical factors behind the bird flight.
1. Skeletal structure.
The most amazing part of a bird’s skeletal system is their bones. They are like honeycombs- hollow and filled with air. This makes them extremely lightweight and adept for flight.
All of their bones and muscles are in front of the body. The bones are very small compared to their wings.
The powerful wing muscles are attached to the breastbone for efficient movement and flight.
2. Food intake.
Birds consume food in very fewer quantities. But their foods are packed with calories, so that very less provides maximum output.
Their digestion system is also adept in minimizing wastes for keeping their total body weight at a minimum.
Common bird foods are seeds, fruits, and meat- all of these are super nutritious ingredients.
3. Respiratory system.
Bird lungs don’t contract or expand like humans. So, air doesn’t get stored in sacs.
As soon as they breathe in, their respiratory system delivers the air to all parts of their body and makes it ready for exhaling.
This enables a bird to remain lightweight.
4. The shape of the feathers and body.
The shape of a bird’s winds is also crucial for flight.
Their wings are thicker at the front and have a curve at the top more than the bottom.
This particular shape causes the air to move faster over the top. Thus, the air above develops low pressure, and the air below the wings develop low pressure.
The result is an upward lift causing the bird to fly.
Also, the shape of the bird’s body reduces air resistance. The pointed beak slices the air, and the curved body guides the air from their body with little resistance.
5. Reproductive and excretory system.
Birds lay eggs and don’t carry babies like humans or other animals. This reproductive function also helps in flight.
If birds carried babies, their body weight would increase. So, laying eggs solves this issue and keeps them lightweight.
Their excretory system doesn’t contain bladders. So, there is no way they can hold their fecal needs. As soon as the food gets digested, it eliminates it from the system.
Bird flight- detailed analysis.
1. Taking off. The first thing birds do for flying is to take off.
This is when their body takes a certain position in order to get a lift.
Usually, birds take in the following ways-
- Running into the wind and the wind beneath the winds help them take off. Example- Aquatic loons.
- Flapping constantly to get a vertical lift. These types of birds don’t utilize wind for flying. Example- Hummingbirds.
- Jumping off elevated surfaces and falling into the air. Example- Peregrine.
- Use legs to leap and then flap constantly until they are carried off by air. Example- Cranes.
2. Flying through the air.
Birds stay up in the air by either of these two techniques:
Soaring birds use the air current to stay afloat. Some birds use thermal currents to fly.
The warm air from the ground reaches above. As warm air is lighter than cold air, this helps birds to gain lift.
On the other hand, birds like albatrosses, use moving air currents to fly.
Birds that need to flap to fly often have smaller wings. So, they have to fly faster to stay up in the air.
During flapping, the wind pressure remains high below the wings and low above the wings. Thus, they gain lift.
3. Changing directions.
It’s tough for soaring birds to change direction and go exactly where they want.
They usually get into a thermal current and rise as high as the thermal would take them. So, when they gain their desired altitude, they change the direction of the wings and moves forward.
At this point, they look for another thermal to get elevation again. So, their movement is often like a zigzag pattern.
Flapping birds rely more on their wings. So, they can fly in any direction they want from any point.
Different birds have different landing techniques.
Some birds like robins just move their wings high in the air to increase wind resistance and finally slowing down for landing.
Other birds like cranes use their wings and outstretched feet to increase resistance. This is what airplanes do to land safely.
The more details have a look at this video below!