Feathers and flight
Dr Tim Seller
Feathers are the unique and characteristic feature of birds. They are flexible, light and strong, and are used in a variety of ways including providing coloration and efficient body insulation, as well as giving the surface for lift on the wings. During the first part of the lecture we will look closely at feathers from many points of view. Very few groups of animals have developed the ability of active flight, but birds are particularly good at it. The principles involved are common to everything that flies and these are explained simply during the second part of the lecture. The ways that birds use flight in their lives are explored, and the problems they face in different environmental circumstances are explained.