Movement through the atmosphere using wings or other structures to generate lift.

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14
votes
2answers
1k views

How do birds deal with their eyes drying out at high speeds?

My eyes tear up when cycling at 15 mph, which is nothing compared to bird airspeeds. Do birds continuously produce lots of tears and blink a lot, or do the eyes self-moisturize from the inside ...
10
votes
1answer
195 views

Why don't dragonflies wings collapse?

How do dragonflies manage to fly at such high speeds without their wings collapsing? Their wings are thinner than paper, but they do not even flutter. What gives them their strength?
7
votes
2answers
836 views

Why insects are so energy-efficient while flying?

Why are insects so energy-efficient while flying? Is it because of their light weight and aerodynamics or due to very efficient biochemical transformations (food->energy)?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Do flies actually take off backwards?

I've been told that flies take off backwards, but I haven't really been able to prove it to myself. The closest I've gotten was noticing that they fly into window glass back-first, with their heads ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

Does a non-extinct gliding species of bird exist?

According to wikipedia was Archaeopteryx rather glider than capable of active flight. As a hunting strategy it crawl up to a tree (or other high positioned place) and glide from it to a prey. Most of ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Are boat-tailed grackles efficient flyers?

The boat-tailed grackle's deep-V tail would seem to cause a great deal of drag or even downward deflection (like an airplane's elevators). How much does this actually affect the bird's flight?
2
votes
2answers
370 views

What modern insects are not (flying OR descended from flying ancestors)?

What modern insects are not flying or descended from flying ancestors? (I read somewhere that 99% are, so of course I instantly became curious which aren't. xD ) EDIT: Sorry, I should have been ...
2
votes
1answer
209 views

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
1
vote
3answers
93 views

Would it be possible/plausible for a type of spider to fly by weaving web between it's legs to create bat-like wings?

I've been thinking about this lately. Would it be possible for a type of spider to gain the ability to fly freely by weaving its web between it's legs and creating wings much like those of a bat? Is ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

What is the progressive evolutionary advantage that leads to flying?

As far as I understand, all life started as non-flying and flying came about by natural selection. What is the evolutionary advantageous "path" to flying? Or is there something else to explain this?