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A soft flake of seeming sky falls, wafts and floats earthward catching the light. Lightly, and soft as gossamer, it lands to add a splash of color to the greenery of spring. It may be no more than a tiny feather that’s fallen from a passing bird, but it carries with it a message of mystery and miracle from the heavens.

Not all creatures that fly have feathers — witness bats, insects, even some reptiles, amphibians and fish. Flight is a challenge that many groups of organisms have risen to independently at different times during their evolutionary histories, whenever need or advantage arose.

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