I'm thinking about the evolution of flight on a tidally locked planet where winds normally are 70 km/h (45 km/h) and can easily reach 120 km/h (75 mph). I've recently asked about clothes humans wear in this environment, so I asume there must be humans, which implies the existence of other mammals and terrestrial animals. But what about avian life?
Birds evolved flight to get from tree to tree, but this planet has a tundra-like ecosystem with no big, tall trees or forests of any kind. What's more, the permanent winds on the planet are strong enough to hinder land travel for terrestrial animals. So, with lack of trees and excess of wind, could flight have developed on this planet? If so, what kind of flying/gliding animal could live and thrive on this windy planet?
I'm thinking of possible flying animals. Birds are probably out of the question, but some gliding animals could do fine in this environment. Maybe taking advantage of air currents for faster travel or hunting, but without giving up on walking as their principal mean of locomotion.
On the other hand, I'm also thinking that in this windy environment, weighing more could be an evolutionary advantage. Small and light animals that could have evolved flight would have been wind swept and became extinct much before of having actually been capable of flying. Flight is actually useful, but all the steps in between are not so much.
All in all, animals always make the most of their habitat and I think for sure they would adapt to these circumstances and even use them in their benefit. So I would like to know what you think about this, and please tell me if something is not clear. Thank you very much!