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I think that the idea that birds muct have climbed first to fly is overrated
and seems to be based more on the idea that a ground jumper couldn't fly than
on the reasonableness of the out of tree aurguements.
First of all there is a prima facie case for ground up right now, flying
fish. The have developed from my favorite evolutionalry force, "get the hell
out of the way of the guy that wants to eat me". The fish jumped, and then
jumped further, then got bigger ventrazl fins and started to glide. and maybe
wone day the fish will really fly. It just isn't so very hard to explain
jumping higher and higher and a path to flight. The other things will fall
into place or maybe some were there to start at the beginning. The tree to
tree or tree to gound thing seems to produce gliders whereas jumping to
flight makes more sense as a method to escape.