Published: 28/02/2016
ISBN: 9781785890482
Format: Paperback

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Birds Never Get Lost
by Colin Pennycuick and Sandy Pennycuick

Birds, what are they? Just a group of reptiles, all with some very similar attributes, and they fly. A small mammal like a mouse is confined to the area where you find it, but a bird of similar size, like a Willow Warbler, shoots off in the winter and crosses the Sahara. Both weigh a few grams, and both have a head and four limbs, but the warbler can go wherever it wants, whereas the mouse cannot. What is it about flight, that so escapes gravity?

Birds fly very efficiently, doing little work themselves, and gaining large amounts of energy from the atmosphere. Whether on local flights or migration, they have the freedom to fly anywhere they please. It is because of this that scientists have long been fascinated with how birds remain the ultimate aviators.

Plenty of people have wanted to be birds down the years, and some put on wings and jumped off things. Our human understanding of flight is so short that ‘tower jumping’ is almost living memory.

Birds Never Get Lost includes reports of how bird flight has been studied in laboratories, as well as by flying with them. It also provides a comprehensive background of what distinguishes birds from other flying animals, past and present, from bats to pterosaurs.

This fascinating report into the science behind how birds fly and navigate will appeal to engineers, pilots and bird enthusiasts alike.

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