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How do birds fly?

Birds have one major feature that distinguishes them from all other animals: feathers. These strong but lightweight feathers, in combination with the structure of their bodies, allow birds to fly with amazing skill and speed. Many birds have hollow bones, making their bodies very lightweight, and the muscles that move their wings are extremely powerful. Birds fly, basically, by flapping their wings and using their tails to steer. A bird’s wing is a very complicated instrument that can be adjusted in many different ways to control the flight’s speed, angle, height, and direction. The wider base of the wing (the part closer to the bird’s body), gives it support, while the tip of the wing propels the bird forward. The way the bird’s body is built, particularly the shape and structure of the wing, determines the way the bird flies. Some fly at high altitudes, while others stay low to the ground. Some fly quickly with small, rapid wing movements, others flap their wings slowly but powerfully.

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