December 9, 2021
Hannah Jane Williams is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz, Germany. For eight years she's been studying soaring birds across the spectrum to figure out why birds do what they do and when they do it in the air. For birds, soaring is a delicate game of balancing energy and reward. Flapping takes energy. Energy requires food and getting food has risk. Do birds practice? Do they every soar just to play? How often to birds make mistakes? How do they map the sky? Do they use other birds to evaluate climbs, find lift bands, and take better lines, or is it all instinct?
Gavin McClurg hosts a podcast (The Cloudbase Mayhem podcast) dedicated to free flight where he interviews the best pilots in the world to glean out what makes them great and contributes regularly to magazines like Cross Country and Parapente and many others.