Years ago I came across a statement saying that, whereas since ancient times people thought the eagle to be the highest-flying bird, scientists today believe that certain finches fly higher. Now that I actually have a use for that statement, and despite my having searched till my fingers have worn down to the knuckles, I can't find it again.
I don't expect you yourself will know its source (or even that you would agree with it); but if perhaps you do concur, might you be able to lead me to another quotable source? (Or perhaps you can offer yourself as one?)
Answer Finches don't fly very high; neither do eagles for that matter. The highest flying birds are the Bar-headed Geese that cross the Himalayas on migration - 21,000 to 23,000 feet. You can get sources from the references at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar-headed_Goose
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Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of Ornithology.com . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.
Education/Credentials PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico