The Most Avid Fans of Flying

La Paz Group

weimerskirch3hr_860 Photo © AURÉLIAN PRUDOR/CEBC CNRS

Who enjoys flying? I do (on planes, of course) and birds certainly do as well (they better because they do a lot of it)!  According to recent study, frigatebirds can drift in the skies for up to two months without landing (I think this makes them the biggest fans of flying, along with albatrosses, another ocean-faring flier). In order to do this, the seabird seeks out routes with strong and upward-moving currents to save energy on its flights across the ocean. By hitching a ride with favorable winds, frigates can fly more than 400 kilometers a day (which is the equivalent of a daily trip from Boston to Philadelphia) and avoid having to flap their wings as much.

For instance, the birds skirt the edge of the doldrums, windless regions near the equator. For this group of birds, that region was in the Indian Ocean. On…

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