Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.
At right is a drawing of 3 of a bird's 10 primary flight feathers . . . the artist must know that each of the 10 individual primaries is shaped differently. The outermost primaries - numbers 1 2 are narrower at the tips, thus creating "slots" necessary for flight maneuverability. The primaries closest to the secondaries are shaped more like the secondary feathers.
At right is a cross-section drawing of a wing: Both an airplane and a bird can change the angle in which the shape moves through the air. This adjustment is called the wing's angle of attack. . . see post # 424. When an airplane comes in for a landing, the nose comes up allowing the shape and resistance of the fuselage to slow the airplane. When the landing gear is lowered, creating more drag, it slows the airplane as it descends. The pilot continues pulling the nose up, or increasing the angle of the wing's attack, until the wing stalls or stops flying, placing the machine on terra firma. A bird is analogous to an airplane . . . it drops the backend of it's body, splays the tail feathers, and drops the legs to create drag, thus permitting the flaring and stalling of the wings which results in a landing!
Why is this information important to the bird artist? Understanding wing shapes, attitude,
and aerodynamics will open the door to breathing life into the artist's work. the artist must
realize that it is the superb shape of the bird's wing that causes the wonder of flight.
Below is an original, hand-tinted etching of mallards pitching in for a landing . . .
tail feathers flared, body angled, "gear" down, and wings angled high . . .
the ducks are slowing down to alight on a pond.
7 1/4 x 8 1/4
All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott