Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Early birds surmount steep slopes

Even before they can fly, some young birds can run up vertical surfaces by using their wingbeats to add traction to their legs. Such behaviour may be relevant to understanding the origin of avian flight.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The mechanics of wing-assisted incline running, as described by Bundle and Dial2.


  1. Dial, K. P. Science 299, 402–404 (2003).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bundle, M. W. & Dial, K. P. J. Exp. Biol. 206, 4553–4564 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Gatesy, S. M. & Dial, K. P. Evolution 50, 331–340 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Ji, Q. et al. Nature 410, 1084–1088 (2001).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Prum, R. O. & Brush, A. H. Q. Rev. Biol. 77, 261–296 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Jenkins, F. A. Am. J. Sci. 293, 253–267 (1993).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Padian, K. & Chiappe, L. M. Biol. Rev. 73, 1–42 (1998).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chen, P.-J. et al. Nature 391, 147–152 (1998).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hutchinson, J. Early birds surmount steep slopes. Nature 426, 777–778 (2003).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing