Video: feathers not included

Inspired by the beauty and flying ability of birds, Leonardo da Vinci strived centuries ago to create a human-powered flapping-wing flying machine. But his designs, which da Vinci explored in his Codex on the Flight of Birds, ...

Leonardo da Vinci's take on dynamic soaring

Although Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is known to have studied bird flight, few people realise that he was the first to document flight maneuvers, now called dynamic soaring. Birds use these maneuvers to extract energy from ...

Chinese Cretaceous fossil highlights avian evolution

A newly identified extinct bird species from a 127 million-year-old fossil deposit in northeastern China provides new information about avian development during the early evolution of flight.

Small birds fly at high altitudes towards Africa

A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that small birds migrating from Scandinavia to Africa in the autumn occasionally fly as high as 4,000 metres above sea level—probably adjusting their flight to take advantage ...

The early bird got to fly: Archaeopteryx was an active flyer

The question of whether the Late Jurassic dino-bird Archaeopteryx was an elaborately feathered ground dweller, a glider, or an active flyer has fascinated palaeontologists for decades. Valuable new information obtained with ...

The flight speed of birds is more complex than previously thought

The flight speed of birds is more complex than research has previously managed to show. In a new study from Lund University in Sweden, researchers have found that birds use multiple – each one simple yet effective—methods ...

Crested pigeons use feathers to sound the alarm

Many animals will sound an alarm to alert other members of their group of impending danger. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on November 9 have shown that crested pigeons do this in a surprisingly non-vocal way. ...

Even light oiling is like flying with a ball and chain for birds

It's a depressingly familiar sight when an oil well blows or a tanker runs aground: thousands of stranded, helpless animals wallowing in cloying crude oil. 'Birds are often used as the poster children for the deadly effects ...

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