See The Only Bird That Can Fly For 7yrs Without Landing On Ground

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There are birds that can soar and stay airborne with minimum effort. The wandering Albatross is an outstanding example of such bird. With a wingspan of 11 feet (3.4 m) and weighing nearly 20 pounds (8.5 kg), this bird can fly thousands of miles using very little energy! Its secret lies in both its anatomy and its soaring technique.

Consider these facts: During the flight, the bird engages special tendons that lock its wings in place when fully extended, thus allowing the muscles to rest. It can fly for years without landing. They spend their first 7 years of life flying over the oceans before coming to the land to mate. It is capable of travelling more than 10,000 miles in a single journey and circumnavigating the globe in just 46 days before returning to their place of birth to breed. The bird other secrets​—how it soars hour after hour—​involves its mastery of oceanic winds.

Albatross bird raises only one chick every other year. But during the past 20 years, the population of the wandering albatross on South Georgia in the South Atlantic and on Crozet in the Indian Ocean has been reduced almost by half. What is thought by some to be the reason for this? Longline fishing. Or to say it’s not easy to catch.

To catch bluefin tuna, fishermen use longlines, each carrying hundreds of hooks. The lines are set off the stern of the fishing vessel. Each hook is baited with squid—the main food of the albatross. When the bird swoops down to take the squid, it occasionally swallows the hook as well. The hooked bird then sinks with the heavy line and drowns.

In the open seas of the South Atlantic, however, there is no monitoring of methods used by fishing boats. According to seabird specialist Sandy Bartle, of the Museum of New Zealand, boats there “do nothing to stop albatrosses being killed.” Truly, the possible demise of the majestic albatross is a commentary on human negligence and indifference.

These insights may help engineers design aerial vehicles that are more fuel efficient, perhaps even using engineless propulsion.

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