Birds in Flight

by Anders Gyllenhaal

Roseate Spoonbill BIRDS IN FLIGHT FELLSMERE, FLORIDA OSPREY BIRDS IN FLIGHT Orlando, Florida American Flamingo BIRDS IN FLIGHT Rio Largartos, Mexico COPYRIGHT BY ANDERS AND BEVERLY GYLLENHAAL EASTERN MEADOWLARK BIRDS IN FLIGHT KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA Red-shouldered Hawk BIRDS IN FLIGHT Orlando, Florida COPYRIGHT BY ANDERS AND BEVERLY GYLLENHAAL PALM WARBLER BIRDS IN FLIGHT ORLANDO, FLORIDA BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER BIRDS IN FLIGHT LORTON, VIRGINIA BROWN PELICAN BIRDS IN FLIGHT ASSATEAGUE, MARYLAND COPYRIGHT BY ANDERS AND BEVERLY GYLLENHAAL WOOD STORK BIRDS IN FLIGHT MELBOURNE, FLORIDA COPYRIGHT BY ANDERS AND BEVERLY GYLLENHAAL

 

How on earth did they learn to fly?

Around 150 millions years ago, all the ingredients somehow fell into place for a new and revolutionary form of travel. A segment of dinosaurs developed a coating of feathers, apparently to protect them from the elements.  They had particularly strong forearms that could pump with great strength, and they were especially light for their size, helped by bones that came to be hollow.

Osprey

Scientists have spent years trying to understand what happened next. While they still aren’t sure how, these creatures learned to lift off from the ground and take flight. A hundred million years later, when an asteroid is believed to have struck the earth, the dinosaurs that had mastered flight were only ones to survive.

Today, we take it for granted when we watch birds fly overhead. But if you look closely at the mechanics of flight, there’s nothing ordinary about it.

This Flying Lessons feature celebrates the beauty of flight. From the hummingbird’s miniature helicopter technique capable of flying backwards to breathtaking dive of the Osprey, birds have continued to develop their flying skills as the millennia have passed.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The gallery above includes a handful of our favorite photos of birds in flight. The gallery scrolls through the photos every 10 seconds, but if you’d like to pause on one, simply leave your cursor on the photo. We’ll change out flight photos from time to time to keep the feature fresh and worth coming back to visit.

 

 

The Wood Stork, which has held onto its dinosaur profile, flies over the Wakodahatchee wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida.

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