Inspiratory airflow in the avian lung completely bypasses the most cranial secondary bronchi (the ventrobronchi), and instead enters bronchi arising more caudally (the dorsobronchi). Dotterweich (1936) proposed that 'aerodynamic valves' prevented entry into the ventrobronchi. We have recently provided evidence that inspiratory aerodynamic valving in avian lungs depends on convective inertia in the primary bronchus (Banzett et al., 1987). Theoretical and physical models (Butler et al., 1988; Wang et al., 1988) showed that convective inertia could effect valving, but the effectiveness of valving at resting flows was less than that observed in the bird. This leads us to hypothesize that a segment of the primary bronchus is constricted, accelerating the gas and enhancing the convective inertia. To test this hypothesis in the present work we measured pressures throughout the airways and air sacs in anesthetized, pump-ventilated geese at different flow rates and gas densities. Our data show: (1) there is a large pressure drop in the primary bronchus close to the ventrobronchial junction, indicating the presence of a constriction; (2) this pressure drop increases with gas density and flow; (3) the convective inertia at this site is more than 10 times downstream opposing pressures. We conclude that the primary bronchus just cranial to the first ventrobronchus forms a constriction which accelerates inspired air. Furthermore, we conclude that the convective inertia of gas leaving this segment is sufficient to achieve inspiratory valving.