Posted by: Ross Gardner | February 13, 2015

Of wing over wind

It is not to be recommended, stopping the car in the middle of a suburban street to watch the birds flying overhead.  However, I was halted in my tracks this morning, to watch for a few moments not some outrageous rarity as it chanced across my passage home, neither a bird so out place as to require a double glance just to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me.  I stopped to watch seagulls, Black-headed to be precise.

They were riding the wind coming in off the coast.  One moment practically stationary, the next rising slightly upwards as if lifted on some invisible thread.  This I have watched many times before – watched and been amazed by the consummate effortlessness of the absolute mastery of wing over wind.  Today, for some reason, it came to my eyes afresh.  The wonder of how such little apparent physical effort can achieve such disproportionate movement.  How an angling of a wing, quite unseen from the ground, can take the bird from its airborne stasis to go sweeping over the rooftops.


Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus).  Ross Gardner 2014.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus). Ross Gardner 2014.

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