Animals that fly

One of the most majestic sights to behold is to watch an eagle lift its wings and take flight. Watching the giant bird soar through the air causes one to ask, "How do they do it?" The mechanics of flight are simple, actually. An animal must possess wing to fly, but not all birds fly. A bird's wings are covered in feathers, and these feathers have a unique design. They are made of a strong material called keratin, and are hollow in the middle to create a light, aerodynamic wing. The tail is the rudder, helping the bird direct its' path. The tail also helps the bird balance in the air, with a stablizing effect as it spreads.

You might wonder, "but how does a bird actually fly?" The process of becoming airborne is made up of three steps. First, a bird must gain speed for take-off. Birds eat high-calorie foods that give them the energy necessary for acceleration. Second, the wings form what is called an "airfoil", lifting the bird from the ground to keep it aloft. This happens when air goes below and above the wings, with the air at the top of the wing going at a faster speed than the bottom of the wing. Third, the bird flaps its' wings to create "thrust" or upward push from the ground. Birds know instinctively how to turn their wings to create the most thrust.

Birds are not the only creatures who fly. Bats, a form of flying mammal, also fly. If you have ever seen a bat fly, you will notice its erratic flight pattern and moth-like appearance in the air. This is because bats are designed to be versatile in the air, changing directions when necessary. And, unlike birds, bats have heavier bones close to their bodies for added support, and lighter bones toward the wing tips to help lighten the load.

In addition to bats and birds, there are also many varieties of flying insects. Unlike birds, insects do not flap their wings by nerve command. They actually only require nerve commands to start and stop the process of flight. But insects are similar to birds in that they must burn calories effectively, using carbohydrates to maintain the enormous job of staying aloft. On interesting insect to watch is the midge, a small fly. It beats its wings up to 1000 times per minute. What effort!

long-tailed wattled bat
big-eared woolly bat
Seychelles sheath-tailed bat
fly river roundleaf bat
fly river trumpet-eared bat
evening bat
spectral bat
This list has been generated automatically and therefore can contain errors, please keep that in mind.
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