It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a nature study on flight! Flight is an extremely complex process, so in this nature study, we will explore the basic forces working on birds in flight. Let’s take off! For anything to be able to fly it has to be able to overcome the force of gravity that’s keeping it on the ground. What’s a force? It’s a push or a pull that produces or changes the motion of something. Stand up, yes, on your feet! Jump as high as you can into the air. What happens? How long were your feet off the ground? Probably not more than a second. Gravity is a force that pulls you downward toward Earth. If you want to stay airborne, you’ll need to counteract your weight and the force of gravity acting on you. How does a bird do it? They are able to generate something called lift which opposes their weight or force of gravity pulling them down. So, gravity pulls downward, while lift pushes upward.