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Name: Andy
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Question:
How do birds equalize inner ear pressure when flying at high altitudes?


Replies:
Andy,

The fact is this subject is not completely understood, but it is certainly interesting. Some of this may be explained by the fact that birds have extensive air sacs that transcend throughout their bodies as part of their air respiration. Their lungs are more extensive and not like mammals. Their bones are hollow with openings for the most part and air is very much part of the bird's internal composition. Air is not contained in birds like we see in mammals and moves through birds much more easily. Furthermore, the air sacs are connected to the bone's internal air spaces.

It is highly suspected that birds are able to detect air pressure changes and can sense weather changes and more importantly, altitude. Birds flying at night have the ability to maintain the same altitude for huge distances during migration and do not need to see the ground. It is also believe that the ear is indeed the sensing device for air pressure, but as I discussed above, air is much more a part of the birds internal anatomy and air can move easily throughout the bird so venting is probably not an issue.

I am unable to answer your question, but maybe I have touched upon the reason.

Steve Sample


At the back of the throat birds have a cleft which is by the inner ear opening. This cleft helps to regulate the pressure changes! Scientists think that the inner ear may play a huge part in helping birds to migrate and detecting storms.

Grace Fields


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