perform (some) birds ever before fly in fog or clouds so that they would not have the ability to see one of two people the ground or the sun? presume the visibility is good enough so they deserve to see obstacles gradually to protect against them.

You are watching: Do birds fly above the clouds

If lock do, just how do they preserve straight flight?

Inner ear is poor in the air, since it have the right to only feeling the sum of gravity and also acceleration, i beg your pardon is just the (reaction to) aerodynamic forces and also those are constantly orthogonal come the wings. Come an extent, it can likewise detect rotation, however this is not an excellent enough to keep precision for minutes and hours in cloud. So exactly how do birds understand where is up?


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edited may 28 "17 in ~ 11:29
jan Hudec
asked may 28 "17 in ~ 10:27
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Yes, they do.

Pilots normally say that "birds are day VFR only", you"re gonna read this a lot on the internet. VFR means Visual flight Rules, wherein the pilot operates the aircraft in weather problems clear enough to allow the pilot to view where the aircraft is going. Thus, they room implying that birds protect against flying in ~ night and also inside clouds.

However, this is wrong. Bird do fly within clouds (and in ~ night), particularly migratory birds that have to fly non-stop because that weeks or months. They cannot protect against flying in ~ night (of course) and, in numerous situations, they cannot stop flying in the direction of a cloud.

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According this document in Science, native Weimerskirch et al. (2016), frigatebirds can even do this on purpose!

We studied the three-dimensional movements and energetics of good frigate bird (Fregata minor) and also showed that they deserve to stay aloft because that months throughout transoceanic flights. To carry out this, birds track the edge of the doldrums come take benefit of favorable winds and solid convection. Locally, they use a roller-coaster flight, relying top top thermals and wind come soar in ~ a 50- to 600-meter altitude tape under cumulus clouds and also then glide over kilometers in ~ low power costs. To resolve the neighborhood scarcity of clouds and also gain much longer gliding distances, birds regularly soar inside cumulus clouds to use their solid updraft, and also they can reach altitudes that 4000 meters, wherein freezing problems occur. (emphasis mine)

Source: Weimerskirch, H., Bishop, C., Jeanniard-du-Dot, T., Prudor, A. And also Sachs, G. (2016). Frigate birds track atmospheric conditions over months-long transoceanic flights. Science, 353(6294), pp.74-78.

PS: You have two concerns here, particularly after your edit. I suggest that girlfriend post another question concerning the spatial orientation, due to the fact that asking various questions (even if they room related) in the same short article is no nice, and also it"s a factor to near ("Too broad: prevent asking multiple distinctive questions in ~ once"). However, it"s worth pointing out that apparently birds do suffer from spatial disorientation as soon as there is no intuitive cue. According to this reasonably old paper, "Spatial Disorientation in Birds":

The just conclusion is the birds space susceptible and suffer indigenous spatial disorientation, and further that the causes of spatial disorientation in birds are specifically the exact same as those which influence the human being pilot, namely; (a) the loss of true intuitive cues to the horizontal; (b) inexperience in paris under such conditions where intuitive cues room lost;