Agriculture
Seeds of the Future
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Amphibians
Salamanders
Tree Frogs
Toads
Animals
Little Bee Brains That Could
Sleep Affects a Bird's Singing
Dolphin Sponge Moms
Behavior
Making Sense of Scents
Two monkeys see a more colorful world
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Birds
Pelicans
Flamingos
Pigeons
Chemistry and Materials
Diamond Glow
Moon Crash, Splash
Atom Hauler
Computers
Graphene's superstrength
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
The science of disappearing
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Takeout for Mammals
Message in a dinosaur's teeth
A Really Big (but Extinct) Rodent
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Unnatural Disasters
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Island of Hope
Environment
Ready, unplug, drive
Seabirds Deliver Arctic Pollutants
Bald Eagles Forever
Finding the Past
Settling the Americas
Digging Up Stone Age Art
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Fish
Piranha
Dogfish
Tilapia
Food and Nutrition
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
Chew for Health
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Gut Microbes and Weight
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Taste Messenger
Invertebrates
Oysters
Termites
Corals
Mammals
Tasmanian Devil
Bumblebee Bats
Humpback Whales
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
Physics
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Bright Blooms That Glow
Farms sprout in cities
Reptiles
Pythons
Tortoises
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Killers from Outer Space
Sun Flips Out to Flip-Flop
Saturn's Spongy Moon
Technology and Engineering
Smart Windows
Toy Challenge
Crime Lab
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Charged cars that would charge
How to Fly Like a Bat
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Weather
A Dire Shortage of Water
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Catching Some Rays
Add your Article

Gaining a Swift Lift

Watch a bird soar above the trees or swoop in for a graceful landing. It turns out that the same air movements that allow a mosquito to buzz around your ear or a ladybug to land on your shoulder may also help a bird fly. When insects flap their wings, the air above the wings swirls around. Scientists describe these little whirlpools as leading-edge vortices. The result is a pocket of moving air above the wing that has less pressure than the air below the wing. The low-pressure swirls create suction that pulls the bug upward, giving it lift. Now, scientists in the Netherlands have shown that bird wings can also create such swirls. Because it's hard to trace the air moving around a live bird, the scientists made a bird wing of their own. They modeled their wing on that of a common swift, which flies fast and can make tight turns or simply glide. Birds have two parts to their wings, an arm-wing and a hand-wing. In swifts, the arm-wing is short but the hand-wing is long and cuts into the air with a sharp edge of feathers. Because air and water flow in similar ways, the researchers put their wing in a water tank. They watched as particles in the water swept over, under, and around the wing. The scientists observed leading-edge vortices above the hand-wing—just like those seen trailing away from insect wings. Currently, most scientists believe that air flows straight above and below bird wings to lift up the birds, without whirlpools. The new findings should change how people picture bird flight, the Dutch researchers say. The whirlpools could be what allow swifts and other birds to gain altitude, to stop in mid-flight to catch an insect, or to slow down as they land. The scientists even suggest that the swift's hand-wing might have developed its special shape just so that it could create these swirls. However, just because something may be true for swifts doesn't mean that it's true for eagles or hummingbirds or pelicans. And the investigators looked only at gliding. They also need to look for swirls above models of flapping wings. Nonetheless, if bugs do it, birds may very well do it, too.—K. Ramsayer

Gaining a Swift Lift
Gaining a Swift Lift








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™