How Do Birds Fly? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

Birds are unique and fascinating creatures. In this lesson, you'll learn about birds' strength, body features and speed that give them the awesome ability to fly.

How Do Birds Fly?

When you look outside, you probably see lots of different birds flying and soaring from place to place. Their wings flap and help them to fly high in the air. Then, their wings spread out in a strong, straight line to continue soaring.

The body of a bird is designed to fly.
Flying Bird

Flying is possible for birds because of their strength, speed, weight and the way their bodies are created with parts such as wings. These are adaptations, or special and different features, that are designed to help birds fly. There are many different birds with different ways of flying. Let's explore how birds have the awesome ability to fly.

How Do the Shape and Weight of Birds' Bodies Help Them Fly?

Birds' bodies are usually lighter in weight than other animals. This is a necessary adaptation that helps them fly. Gravity is an invisible force that pulls heavier objects down toward Earth more than lighter objects. Therefore, the light weight of birds makes it easier for them to move up into the air since less gravity is working against them.

Birds' weight is also focused toward the center of their bodies. They don't have too much weight on the sides, front and back of their bodies. This gives them the balance they need to fly.

Your bones are thick and heavy. However, birds' bones are hollow, or empty, on the inside, which causes less weight. They also have very light feathers. Mother birds lay eggs instead of carrying babies in their bodies, which helps them to stay lighter in weight as well. Additionally, birds have beaks instead of heavy teeth and noses; this also helps to reduce their weight.

Have you every walked around with a heavy, full stomach from eating too much? This causes you to feel heavier. Birds, on the other hand, eat lightweight foods such as berries, seeds and light meats that digest very quickly. Their bodies also get rid of wastes quickly so that they're not too weighed down to fly.

How Do Birds' Wings Help Them to Fly?

Bodybuilders have big, strong arms that help them lift hundreds of pounds of weight. Birds have strong and powerful wings that help to lift their entire bodies off the ground. These are special adaptations that help them fly.

The shape of birds' wings and the way they flap them allows air to move much faster above the wing than below the wing as they soar into the air. This difference in air force, or air pressure, is what lifts the bird from the ground.

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