The First and Second Graders at Sunnyside Environmental School have been studying birds and sent in the following questions:
A lot of birds don't survive their first year---there are all kinds of challenges they must go through from learning to fly and hunt to making their first migrations. However if the osprey do make it through that first challenging year, on average they will live about 8-10 years. One osprey in Scotland has been documented to have lived 25 years and has hatched 46 young. She is known as the "Old Lady of the Loch" (lake). The lifespan of birds varies greatly---some small songbirds may only live 3-5 years on average while some seabirds such as albatrosses have been know to live as long as 30-40 years. Some parrots can live 80+ years. A lot of what we know about the survival of wild birds is from banding records---biologists trap birds and put identification bands on their legs. If they are recaptured by biologists again in future years, we can learn about how long they live. The banding lab publishes records of the longest lived banded birds.
Daniel Bernoulli was an 18th Century Swiss mathamatician who discovered that as air speed increases, air pressure lowers. Birds winds have evolved to take advantage of this fact.The shape of a birds wing allows air to move more quickly over the top than the bottom. This reduces the air pressure on top of the wing. The higher air pressure beneath the wing helps push the bird upward when it is trying to fly. Bernoulli's discovery was critical for the development of modern air travel by humans.
Thanks for the great questions!