How does a vulture know?

Andreas Rose VKL05 at
Thu Jun 9 18:04:30 EST 1994

I just talked to someone who is a paraglider. He told me the only way for him 
to find out whether he is actaully going upward is by looking at his 
altitude-meter. Once he is going up, and there is no more acceleration, he 
feels nothing, of course. An when he is a down current and the current slows 
down, it actually feels like he is beeing lifted up. That all makes sense. He 
also said that it is impossible to tell by looking at the horizon, especially 
in a flat area. Maybe birds like vultures or storks are better at this, but I 
was wondering whether these and similar birds actually have like a 
built-in altitude-meter? Does anyone know how they know that they are being 
lifted up?

PS: Sorry for my English, but with altitude-meter, I mean an apparatus that 
measures altitude (What's the correct word? My dictionary doesn't know.).




Andreas Rose

Arbeitsgruppe Boeck
Institut fuer Zoologie
Universitaet Regensburg
Universitaetsstr. 31
D-93040 Regensburg

email: andreas.rose at

"Die Zukunft war frueher auch mal besser." (Karl Valentin)

More information about the Bioforum mailing list