We know that birds can fly in a weightless environment from experiments with pigeons on the Vomit Comet. But on a very large O'Neill cylinder space station, could they fly the same way they do on Earth?
Most birds fly by flapping their wings to climb and using gravity to dive, descend, and land. But inside a giant centrifuge, the "gravity" is supplied by the spinning of the cylinder itself. A bird in flight is not in contact with the cylinder anymore. While it seems plausible that a bird should be able to complete relatively short flights, because it will leave the ground with enough tangential velocity to complete a basic ballistic trajectory, I'm somewhat skeptical about a bird's ability to stay in the air for a very long time, and travel a long distance, without eventually losing its "downward" (outward) acceleration, and thereby its ability for "normal" flight.
I've been told I'm wrong on this, because reference frames, but the only explanations and examples I can find are rather generic and unsatisfying. Am I wrong on this? What am I missing? And for that matter, what about airplanes? I'm sure a plane could get airborne, but how far could it fly before flipping over?