Photos of the Week: Flight Patterns

Birdwatchers, avgeeks share similar passions, skill sets

By BlueSkyStaff

Published January 14, 2022

Read Time: 2 mins


Avid birdwatchers, or birders, know one of the quickest methods to identify a feathered friend is to watch it fly.

Birds navigate the air in a variety of ways, depending on their environment, food, wing shape and other factors. Picture raptors circling high above, or hummingbirds “floating” alongside flowers, and a whole range of movements in between.

Woodpeckers are in a group that uses what birders call an “undulating” pattern: alternating a burst of wing flaps that makes them rise, followed by a gentle bound downward with their wings tucked close to their bodies.

We mention all this to point out that Frontier Airlines features a pileated woodpecker named Weston as one of its signature animal tail liveries, in this case on an A320neo that went into service in 2017.

The striking red-mohawked woodpecker is found throughout Canada and the eastern United States. However, Connor Ochs captured this photo of the plane featuring Weston on the West Coast, at San Francisco International Airport, during a recent plane-spotting trip.

We also mention it because if you had the opportunity to look down at a woodpecker in flight, you’d see an unusual shadow on the ground as the bird tucks its wings on the downward bounds. Avid birders know what that shape looks like.

Now, a devoted avgeek could probably do the same with Christopher Hugar’s photo of his plane landing a few days ago at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, Fla. Can you guess the aircraft casting that shadow?

It’s a Boeing 737-700. No red mohawk.

Thanks, Connor and Christopher!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.

A Boeing 737-700 casts a shadow as it lands at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. (Photo submitted by Christopher Hugar)

Go to Top