As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 28 December 2015

Tree-top turbulence helps flapping vultures soar

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent

24 December 2015 

Some species of vultures have developed the ability to tap into turbulent air as a way of gaining altitude according to a new study.

Researchers found that these species compensate for their poor flapping skills by seeking out turbulence at low altitudes.

The researchers say this explains their awkward, wobbling flying style near tree-tops.

The study is published in the journal The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

Sometimes called buzzards, Turkey vultures are the most widespread of these species in North America

They are unique among these birds as they use their sense of smell to find carrion.

For this study researchers in this study observed both Turkey and Black vultures in south eastern Virginia in the US.

According to the study's lead author Julie Mallon, then at the University of West Virginia, these particular vultures have evolved a different style of flying, skirting low along the edge of forests.

"It's an energetic thing," she told BBC News.

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