Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | cool ads | funny | food | futurism | gadgets | russia | japan
military | music | nature | photo | sci-fi | signs | space | sports | steampunk | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird

Link - article by M. Christian and A. Abrams

What's that thing flying at the cruising altitude of a modern jet? In a deadly cold, without air?

Common ducks routinely reach altitude of 5 to 6 kilometers (20,000 feet)

We see them all the time, rowing across a clear, blue sky, applauding into the air when we startle them, singing their sharp, sweet songs in the trees, spiraling, spinning over our heads … but when you take a bit of time and do a smidgen of research, you realize that birds are fascinating creatures, capable of some truly remarkable things.

A barn swallow flies precisely into a two-inch opening of a door at a speed of 56 km/hr (35 miles per hour) -

(image credit: Keith Ringland)

Take, for example, the members of the anatidae family. Not familiar with them? Sure you are: aside from the city pigeon, they are probably one of the first birds people think of. Still fuzzy? Well, think ‘season’ and you might very well jump to ‘duck.’

It’s common knowledge that many birds migrate – some halfway around the world, others not very far at all – but a few species of duck travel amazing distances as part of their regular travels, and at phenomenal speeds. The black brant is one such record holder, making the trip from the cold climes of Alaska to the much-warmer lands of Baja, California. No need to do the math: that’s more than 3,000 miles. A distance, by the way, covered in less than 72 hours.


The ill-respected duck is also a record holder for not just distance and time but also altitude. Although they commonly aren’t high flyers, preferring to stay relatively close to the ground, ducks have been recorded soaring to close nearly 20,000 feet (that's more than 6 kilometers).

That most definitely is a ‘wow’ thing but what’s an even bigger – more like a real big WOW – is that a duck skeleton was found at 16,000 feet … in the form of a skeleton on Mount Everest. (this scientific paper discusses how ducks can actually breath and keep their body warmth at these altitudes)

For altitude, ducks are amazing, no denying that, but if you want to get really, really high you have to look at the extremely ugly Rüppell's Vulture. That might not be fair to the bird, but ugly or not this vulture wears a handsome medal for going where no bird, or even a lot of airplanes, have gone. Ducks, sure, deserve applause for 20,000 feet but the Rüppell's Vulture goes more than just one better, attaining a remarkable 38,000 feet (almost 12 kilometers). Alas, the record was set when the poor bird got sucked into a jet engine at that height but you still have to admit that it was quite an accomplishment.


Take the Sooty Shearwaters. Sounds like a comedy character, doesn’t it? But what this seabird does is anything but funny. Remarkable, yes.

See, the Sooty holds the current record for the longest migration. Period. Think 3,000 miles was wild for a duck? Well, the Sooty travels from New Zealand, or thereabouts, out to the waters of the North Pacific (Japan as well as California), which is a trip much, much longer than just Alaska to California. In fact, it’s a round trip just shy of 40,000 miles (more info)

(image credit: National Georgaphic)


Here’s something that will really make you think twice about swearing at the next swallow that poops on your windshield: the Peregrine Falcon is not just a regal bird as well as a magnificent hunter: it can spot, and then swoop down on, its prey from more than half a mile away. But what’s astounding is the speed of the falcon, considered by many to be the fastest animal in the entire world, when it attacks. Faster than a cheetah, faster than a greyhound: the falcon has been clocked at close to 200 miles per hour. Yep, that deserves another WOW.

(originals unknown)

But birds don’t have to be huge or travel long distances to be marvelous (though, in case you’re interested, the biggest living bird in the world is the ostrich, which can weigh as much as 350 pounds). The members of the family trochilidae – Hummingbirds to you and me -- aren’t big, don’t travel far, but they are certainly fast in their own way. Among the smallest of birds, they beat their wings up to 90 times per second – allowing them to fly every direction including backwards – and the hearts that power them can beat at more than 1,000 beats per minute - 16 heartbeats in a second!

(original unknown)

Waddling across grassy fields, gliding through the air, becoming elegant silhouettes against the white of clouds, they are all around us: the magnificent – and amazing – owners of the sky. So let’s give the birds their due as well as some well-deserved respect.

(beautiful "stained glass" art by Elizabeth Gast)

PS. Humans of course can not fly. But they keep trying:


Permanent Link......+StumbleUpon ...+Facebook


Visual Caffeine #5
Visual Caffeine, Issue 5

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

DRB Feel-Good
DRB Feel-Good Issue #38

Loads of cool and rare imagery

The Best Of DRB in 2015

"Weird and Wonderful Things" Overview

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus; make sure to subscribe to our updates.



Blogger naoyuki said...

Oh the first one is scary as hell like NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET twilight zone!!
I can't bring the link on youtube though, i've watched a jet accidentally hit Migratory Birds at high attitude.

Blogger Nefarious Wheel said...

Emus are considerably larger than Ostriches, notes this Australian

Blogger michelle said...

i love the last picture; the event is on the news every year.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

[Emus are considerably larger than Ostriches, notes this Australian]

Sorry, but the Ostrich is the largest bird species, not the Emu.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nothing against ducks, and I don't denigrate the fact that 6km is very high. But a modern jet liner flies at twice that altitude.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you get your facts?! The Sooty Shearwater is outdone by the Bar-Tailed Godwit, which flies from Alaska to New Zealand, without stopping! Also, the bird with the longest migration flight is The Arctic Tern, flying from pole to pole. The Sooty Shearwater?! Pffft...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hummingbirds ...aren’t big, don’t travel far,...


Many species migrate between Mexico (or further south) and Canada. The Rufous hummingbird migrates all the way up to Alaska, following the USA Western Seaboard.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would point out that crows are considered more intelligent than dogs. Crows have been known to use timing and precision to have cars crack open nuts. Seeing the success of this, other crows model the behavior. not to mention they have over 200 unique calls with often specific meanings. Saw this on "is it possible" on discovery...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only are ducks amazing, they taste good, too.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office


Hellish Weather on Other Planets

Wild, Untamed, and Uncut

Medieval Suits of Armor

Metal Body Suits vs. Weapons of Medieval Destruction

World's Strangest Theme Parks

Amusement to the (twisted) extremes!

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Adorable Pedal Cars

Collectable Pedal Vehicles Showcase

Japanese Arcades: Gundam Pods & Other Guilty Pleasures

These machines have gone up to the next level

Modernist Tallinn Architecture

Delicious blend of old and new!

Early Supercomputers: A Visual Overview

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"

Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

French, Italian & Japanese rare beauties

Epic 1970s French Space Comic Art

DRB Time-Slice: Valérian and Laureline

The Trees Are Escaping! The Abandoned Prison in French Guiana

"Great Escape" from the Devil's Island

Videophones from the Future Past

Skype? Smartphone? Google Hangouts?

The Best of DRB in 2014

Weird & Wonderful 2014 Overview

(with previews, fast loading):











Link Lattes

Feel-Good & Biscotti Issues

Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | funny pics | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | history | humour | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | sports | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned

Cool Ads
Extreme Weather
Funny Pics
Link Latte
Oops Accidents
Science Fiction

UE Abandoned

Avi Abrams
M. Christian
Simon Rose
Paul Schilperoord
Scott Seegert
Constantine vonHoffman

Send us your topic ideas, site suggestions, rants or sweet unpublished poetry. We love to hear from you.

Best binary options brokers

Bookit Coupon