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Learn How Birds Soar With This Easy Experiment

Do you ever wonder how magnificently large birds can soar through the sky without constantly flapping their wings? Or have you observed turkey vultures with their wings out circling high in the sky? These birds are using thermals to give them lift.

Thermals are created when the sun hits certain surfaces on the Earth. When the sun shines on a lake or pond, the heat energy will evaporate the water. The sun shining on a dark surface like a blacktop or a dark field will create a thermal column.

The hot air starts rising in little plumes. They come together, spiral upwards and voila! This upward draft of air gives lift to many large birds, allowing them to expend less energy and soar through the sky.

With this experiment, you can create your own thermal tower and observe the heat energy it creates! Gather your materials and follow along in the video.


Three empty aluminum cans

Can opener




Propeller template

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