SOMETIMES I WANT TO BE A BIRD AND FLY.
SOMETIMES I WANT TO BE A FISH AND SWIM.
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FLY OR SWIM.
RIGHT NOW?
I’M COUNTING AGAIN, AND I’M PICKING UP MY YEARS AND SPLITTING THEM UP WITH MY DISAPPOINTMENTS.
I’M STARTING AGAIN TODAY.
ANONYMOUS

As humans, the trait from the animal world we most admire is probably the ability to fly. People have dreamed of flying like birds for thousands of years. Birds can take off and fly with movements that seem simple to our eyes. All they do is flap their wings. The size and shape of the wings affect the way a bird flies.

But it’s not just wings that allow birds to fly; they have many physical features that work together to make flight possible. They need lightweight features, a streamlined body, and a rigid skeleton to provide firm attachments for powerful muscles.

Small-winged birds usually fly by flapping their wings at least 40 times per second. On the other hand, the wide wingspan of a larger bird allows it to glide through the air without flapping its wings. A swift’s pointed wings help it dart about at great speed, while the very long wings of an albatross enable it to glide with little effort.

The rapid wing beats of smaller birds use more energy. Lowering the wings from top to bottom means lifting and consuming power; flapping from bottom to top maintains flight and balance. For example, a bat flaps its wings eight times per second while flying at cruising speed — that is, every 0.125 seconds.

The zebra finch is the bird with the highest flapping frequency. It can achieve 26.9 wing beats per second — or, 26.9 hertz (Hz), which is 3 to 3.5 times more than the bat in the same time frame. The flapping of a bird’s wings is assumed to be symmetrical and equal. However, in real life, many birds perform asymmetrical flapping and positioning. A bird can’t always fly flat, in a straight line. Slow flapping is expected in a downward stroke, and rapid flapping is upward. It should be noted that small birds use medium-sized flights to perform alternate flapping and compound movements.

The size of the wing is another crucial factor. More giant wings produce more significant lift than smaller wings. So, smaller-winged birds need to fly faster to maintain the same lift as…

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Dr. Hakan Oztunc

Statistics Professor, Math Lover, Teaching @UOFT. Author of numerous Math Novels. Always looking to make math fun for everyone. MyBook: https://amzn.to/2M5F5Nz