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Re: New MANIAC book is out! -good/poor flyer

> It depends on what you mean by 'flyer' I suppose. How well
> would albatrosses fair in completely 
> windless conditions? 

Well, I have never observed an Albatross, but I suspect if you put it somewhere 
with no wind, it wouldn't paddle around on the surface, or waddle around to 
travel, but it would flap to get around (though likely it would sit and wait 
for wind)

> Or vultures without thermals?
They fly quite well without thermals.... you should see them on real light 
days, making use of ridge lift, or even the lightest lift, flapping 
occasionally (though when we observe even the vultures flapping, we know the 
hanggliding won't be any good).
- I am talking about North American Vultures, not the European kinds.

When eating roadkill, even when the air is perfectly calm, they fly to get 
around (somewhat entertaining watching some fly up, do one circle, then come in 
and land right next to another, chasing it off).
They don't walk around much, even with no movement of air, though at that 
point, they don't move around much at all, and just take a high perch.

> to think of those two groups as specialist 
> soarers rather than good flyers. 
Soaring is flight IMO.
They are specialized flyers.
Other birds specialize in flight in other ways.
Birds like a turkey, however, cannot beat a vulture in any flight regime that I 
can think of.

> Geese can travel long distances in dead air without the
> help of air currents. Pigeons can out-
> manoeuvre falcons or take off vertically. Active flappers
> that don't require specific atmospheric 
> conditions are the real 'good flyers' in my book.

They are good flyers too (notice I said most waterfowl, and humming birds in my 
previous post), but a vulture doesn't require any specific atmospheric 
conditions to acheive the kind of flight one sees in a chicken or turkey - they 
can still flap to fly, but can also make use of atmospheric conditions that 
allow flight without flapping - a turkey/chicken cannot/does not.