How high can birds fly?

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Offline chris

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How high can birds fly?
« on: 21/08/2014 14:34:23 »
What are the theoretical and observed limits of bird flight, in terms of altitude?
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Offline alancalverd

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Re: How high can birds fly?
« Reply #1 on: 21/08/2014 23:55:49 »
Airline pilots often report migrating herons in airways at 10,000 and swifts at 15,000ft altitude. It's possible that soaring birds such as eagles could reach 60,000 ft in standing waves but such birds and waves are rare anyway and there's not a lot to eat (or breathe) at that height, so if sighted, they would be doing it for fun or by accident. A few alpine glider pilots have been attacked by eagles around 12,000 ft - most unpleasant. On a cloudless day I sometimes encounter kites or buzzards hunting by soaring thermals at 5000 ft above ground (i.e. up to 8000 ft altitude in the UK) and vultures are reported to do much the same, for hours at a time. Most impressive!
« Last Edit: 21/08/2014 23:59:23 by alancalverd »
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Offline chris

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Re: How high can birds fly?
« Reply #2 on: 13/09/2014 11:10:15 »
Thanks Alan. And when you say you "encounter kites or buzzards..." do you mean that you are up there too?
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Offline alancalverd

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Re: How high can birds fly?
« Reply #3 on: 13/09/2014 11:56:17 »
It's the best way to meet those truly professional aviators! As my territory is the entire British Isles I sometimes go to work in an old Cessna - less stressful than a car and more flexible than the train - and there's no better pastime than flying a glider.
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