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Re: Senter 2006, Confuciusornis, and humeral mobility

On 3/27/2011 12:29 PM, Habib, Michael wrote:

My general point is just to be careful taking anecdotes about takeoff at face 
value.  There are texts that claim running launch is related in a simple manner 
to body size, as well, just for example, and we know that isn't true.

IIRC, Carl Koford states among other things -- CA Condors will not seek food in weather not conducive to their flight abilities, even to feed juveniles that are deprived* -- and are EXTREMELY shy about feeding on carrion on flat ground, consistently being the first to appear, yet the last to feed on carcasses -- and often cannot take off w/ a full crop even in non-dead air and on non-level ground.

Such cautious behavior, whether instinctive or learned, is logically and observationally indicative of flight abilities critically affected by commonly occurring conditions, in my opinion.

That said, it has been _many_ years since I read Koford, and I might be misremembering his work, being somewhat biased toward the idea that takeoffs and landings do indeed tend to be more difficult for large birds as opposed to small ones.

I do not consider his observations (whatever they really may be) to be anecdotal, however -- and further take all responsibility should I indeed be misquoting him.

OTOH, I would be quite cautious personally about deducing airflow and ground orientation from a video, particularly in a mountain environment, should such be the setting.

*Note that adult's crops could be assumed to be completely empty (of food) in such a situation.