Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Nature's Flyers

Nature's Flyers

Birds, Insects, and the Biomechanics of Flight

David E. Alexander
foreword by Steven Vogel

Publication Date
Binding Type

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2003

David E. Alexander's fascination with the many animals and plants that have harnessed the air is evident in Nature's Flyers: Birds, Insects, and the Biomechanics of Flight, a detailed account of our current scientific understanding of the primary aspects of flight in nature.

Instead of relying on elaborate mathematical equations, Alexander explains the physical basis of flight with sharp prose and clear diagrams. Drawing upon bats, birds, insects, pterosaurs, and even winged seeds, he details the basic operating principles of...

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2003

David E. Alexander's fascination with the many animals and plants that have harnessed the air is evident in Nature's Flyers: Birds, Insects, and the Biomechanics of Flight, a detailed account of our current scientific understanding of the primary aspects of flight in nature.

Instead of relying on elaborate mathematical equations, Alexander explains the physical basis of flight with sharp prose and clear diagrams. Drawing upon bats, birds, insects, pterosaurs, and even winged seeds, he details the basic operating principles of wings and then moves progressively through more complex modes of animal flight, including gliding, flapping, and maneuvering. In addition to summarizing the latest thinking about flight's energy costs, Alexander presents a holistic view of flight and its ramifications as he explores the ecology and evolution of flying animals, addressing behaviorally important topics such as migration and navigation. With somewhat surprising answers, the author then concludes his study by examining the extent to which natural flight has been inspiring or instructive for the architects of human flight—airplane designers and engineers.

Reviews

Reviews

Scientifically accurate, up-to-date, and highly accessible, Nature's Flyers will interest not only amateur and professional ornithologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, physiologists, and engineers, but also anyone who is curious about the effects of flight on the evolution and diversity of the natural world.

Alexander achieves the difficult feat of explaining intrinsically complex phenomena without using mathematical or entomological jargon. As a result, the book is clear, beautifully written, and suitable for people at all levels... It introduces readers to some long-standing puzzles... How do some insects manage to fly nonstop over hundreds of miles? How do migrating birds find their way?... I recommend the book to anyone who is curious about flight.

Alexander does an excellent job of keeping the amazement and appreciation alive while clearly explaining the complexities of flight in a manner accessible to anyone... a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book.

This is a fascinating book and would make a valuable addition to the school library.

This book provides a useful popular-level treatment of animal flight, covering not just biomechanical but also ecological and evolutionary aspects of aerial locomotion... No comparable treatment of flight exists in the literature.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
384
ISBN
9780801880599
Illustration Description
30 halftones, 67 line drawings
Table of Contents

Foreword, by Steven Vogel
Preface
1. Introduction
2. How Wings Work
3. Gliding and Soaring
4. Flapping and Hovering
5. Staying on Course and Changing Direction
6. Fueling Flight
7. Evolving Flyers
8. Migrating

Foreword, by Steven Vogel
Preface
1. Introduction
2. How Wings Work
3. Gliding and Soaring
4. Flapping and Hovering
5. Staying on Course and Changing Direction
6. Fueling Flight
7. Evolving Flyers
8. Migrating
9. Finding the Way
10. The Global Impact of Animal Flight
11. Have the Birds and Bees Taught Us Anything Useful?
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Author Bios