(this may sound stupid but) how do birds somehow flap their wings fast and hard enough to fly(sorry for a dumb question). (repost bc one typo just got my entire post deleted)

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(this may sound stupid but) how do birds somehow flap their wings fast and hard enough to fly(sorry for a dumb question). (repost bc one typo just got my entire post deleted)

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You could just ask the question instead of having more than half the post being explanations in parentheses…

I’m not an expert, but I know that nearly all birds have a “wishbone” near the top of their breast. This y-shaped bone acts as a slight spring, so that contracting the wing muscles compresses it, then when released it helps push the wings back up.

Think of “twanging” a thin strip held on one end. It will vibrate faster than you need to hit it to keep it vibrating. Not exactly the same with birds but gives a sense.

It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of flapping. Where I live there are a lot of gulls, which basically just stick their wings out sideways and hang-glide across the sky. They gain altitude by finding columns of rising air and then steering in circles around those columns.

But I guess you’re thinking of something more like a hummingbird…

I’m not sure what there is to say here. Birds have really strong breast muscles. Also they’re a lot lighter-weight than you would expect from their size. (For example, a California Condor has about double my wingspan but only about sixth my weight–and I’m *not* overweight for a human.)

You don’t really need to flap them hard or fast in a lot of circumstances. Think of hang gliders, now imagine you could flap every now and then. That’s how gliding birds fly.

Small birds that flap their wings are able to do this because they
1: have high calorie diets with lots of energy to burn
2: have very very very strong chest muscles to flap the wings
3: and are ridiculously light. One of the adaptations birds have are bones filled with air, which means they’re more fragile to blunt force but are incredibly lightweight. (Ps this is also what allowed non avian dinosaurs to get so big, lightweight bones that were still just as strong and so able to hold up proportionally more meat)

Similarly to how you flap your arms hard enough in water to swim. Compared to the air, they are simply more buoyant than you are.