User Tools

    To create and edit articles, please register and log-in

Main Menu : categories & index etc.

Main menu
Click categories to expand


A-Z listingplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigA-Z listing

This is an alphabetical index of all content pages.


Other categories

Utilities

Contact
Register
Sandbox

Also see

Importance Ratings
News
Legal
Donate/Sponsor
Curator's rationale
AI Policy



Twitter feed 𝕏



Feeds + s.e.o. etc.
rss / xml feed
sitemap file
A-Z listing (archived)


Indexed under : Life Sciences / Zoology

Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Avian soaring

Dozens of species of birds are expert at soaring (list). Using rising pockets of air which are slightly warmer than the surrounding air (called thermals) many species can travel hundreds - or even thousands - of kilometres with very little need to flap their wings. They tend to circle around within the thermal they've found, then, when they reach a high enough altitude, they then glide down to the next available one. This is called 'dynamic soaring'.

The question arises - how do they know where the thermals are?

One straightforward way is simply to randomly fly in roughly the required direction until upward movement is detected, and then start to circle. If the bird senses that it's dropping, the circle is tightened.

But the superb efficiency which some birds (e.g. albatrosses and terns) have for dynamic soaring have led some to suggest that there could be another system at work.

One theory is that they may be able to detect infra-sound (as many species of birds can) caused by the air currents of rising thermals (ref.) To date, there has been no experimental confirmation of this theory.

What is known is that some species (e.g. vultures) take clues simply by watching the circling behaviour of other birds nearby. See Journal of The Royal Society Interface, Volume: 15, Issue: 148, Start page: 20180578.

Further reading (technical) : Experimental verification of dynamic soaring in albatrosses Journal of Experimental Biology, volume 216, issue 22.

Dear reader : Do you have any suggestions for the site's content?

Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for older ones, are always welcome.

If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !


Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.

( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)

Automatic Translation

You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma

Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.

Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.

Show another (random) article

Further resources :

DOKUWIKI IMPLEMENTATION DESIGN BY UNIV.ORG.UK DECEMBER 2023