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Aren’t wings enough to fly? After all, bats, and insects don’t seem to need feathers on their wings to fly. Penguins, that use their flippers (arms) underwater in exactly the same way that other birds use their wings in the air don’t seem to need feathers.
Feathers help birds fly in air by giving them a ‘lift’. Quite literally, feathers help birds lift off the ground and soar into the sky.
You can try and understand what this ‘lift’ is with this activity. Take a piece of paper. The best type of papers to use are the thin sheets used in magazines. Hold the short edge of the paper up to your mouth using both hands. What do you think will happen if you blow hard across the top of the paper? Will it go down or up? Now, try it and see what happens. Write to us and let us know what happened to your paper.
What are the different feathers you found? Send us your photographs or sketches from your field diary to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a book on birds.