Posts tagged ‘Bird’

How can birds perch on electric wires without getting shocked?

Birds

A bird does not receive a shock when it lands on an electric wire because it lands on only one wire.  Electricity takes the path of least resistance—it flows through some materials much more easily than others.

It is simply easier for the electricity to continue along the metal wire than it is for it to detour through the bird.

If the bird landed on two wires with different voltages, however, the electricity would flow through the bird from the wire with the higher voltage to the wire with the lower voltage, and the bird would be electrocuted.–Dick Rogers

Does an ostrich hide its head when it is frightened?

Ostrich

No, an ostrich does not hide its head when it is frightened.  According to this old belief, the ostrich hides its head in the sand to escape danger, because it feels it is safely hidden.

What this tall bird actually does when it sights possible danger is lie flat on the ground with its long neck stretched out, thus producing a low profile.  And enemy may not be able to see the ostrich when it is in this position.

If danger comes too near, the ostrich runs off at top speed.  Although an ostrich cannot fly, it can run as fast as 40 miles an hour, and can easily outrun most of its enemies.–Dick Rogers

Why do birds molt?

Molting Bird

Feathers wear out, as clothes do, and need to be replaced. The process is called “molting.”  Birds molt their feathers at least once a year, in late summer or early fall.  Feathers are made from a substance called “keratin.”  It is basically the same material your hair is made of. 

In molting, old worn feathers drop out of their sockets in a bird’s skin and new ones grow in their place.  Some birds grow bright, new feathers for the nesting season. 

These birds molt twice a year.  Most birds molt just a few feathers at a time, so they are able to fly during molting periods.Dick Rogers

Why doesn’t a bird fall off its perch when it sleeps?

Perhaps you, too, have wondered how sparrows and other perching birds can sleep on a twig or branch without falling off.  The answer is that the sleeping bird cant fall because it feet are actually “locked” on the perch.

Bird

Each of the bird’s toes are connected with a cord inside the log.  When the bird sits on a branch, the bending of the leg tightens the cord and pulls the toes around the branch.

As a result, the toes are clamped to the branch and even in sleep the bird cannot lose its hold.  The toes are loosened only when the bird awakens and stands up.

By looking at a bird’s feet we can tell a good deal about its way of life.  The strong feet of hawks and owls are provided with sharp, curved talons with which to catch their prey.

Ducks and other swimming birds have webbed feet which they use to paddle through water.

Still other birds have feet adapted for climbing, scratching, wading, running, and so on. – Dick Rogers

 

What is a sea gull?

Around the seacoast there is probably no bird more familiar than the sea gull.

It is a large, long-winged bird with mostly white feathers.  Its graceful soaring and wheeling flight makes the sea gull a pleasure to watch.

Sea gulls have webbed feet and often alight on the water to feed or rest.  They float and swim easily, often roosting on the waves.

Sea Gull

Sea gulls are the scavengers of the seashore.  A sea gull will eat almost any kind of food it can swallow.  Its favorite food is garbage.

Sea gulls often follow ships for many miles, eagerly swooping down upon any garbage that is thrown overboard.  Large flocks congregate in harbors where there are plenty of floating scraps of food to eat.

Besides garbage, sea gulls eat fish and will even rob the nests of other birds for eggs.

Thousands of sea gulls will often be found nesting on the same island or rock cliff. – Dick Rogers

 

What is an osprey?

The osprey is a large bird of prey that resembles the eagle.  A full-grown osprey may be 2 feet long with a wing-spread of nearly 6 feet.

It is dark brown above, white below, with enough white on its head to be easily mistaken for the bald eagle.

Osprey are found near rivers, lakes and sea-coasts all over the world.  A common name for the osprey is “fish hawk”  because it feeds almost entirely on fish.

Osprey

It fishes by flying over the water.  When it spots a fish swimming near the surface it dives feet-first, hits water with a great splash and seize the fish with its long, sharp talons.

Sea eagles often rob the osprey of its catch.  The eagle is not a very good fisherman.  When it spies an osprey with a fish, it swoops down and forces the osprey higher and higher until the osprey tires and drops the fish.

The eagle catches the fist in mid-air. – Dick Rogers

 

What is an albatross?

Albatross

Some birds spend all their time far out at sea, except when they are nesting.  The albatross is one of these birds.

It is a large sea bird resembling an overgrown sea gull.

Albatross are found roving over nearly an ocean except the North Atlantic.

They often follow ships for days and feed on the garbage that is thrown overboard.

Their long, narrow wings, allow them to soar behind a ship for hours with barely a wing beat.

Albatross sit down on the water to eat and scoop up the scraps of food with their yellow, hooked beaks.  They also eat fish.

The best known albatross is the wandering albatross.

This magnificent white bid has the longest wingspan of any living bid.

Though only about nine inches wide, its black-tipped wings may stretch more than 11 feet from tip to tip

An old sailor’s superstition said that harming an albatross bought bad luck.  – Dick Rogers

 

What is a quetzal?

Quetzal

The quetzal is a brilliantly plumed bird of Mexico and Central America, and sacred bird of the Aztec.  The quetzal is pronounced ket SAHL.

The male, hardly larger than a dove, has glittering, emerald green-and-crimson feathers, with graceful tail streamers over three feet long.

This inactive bird sits quietly for long periods on a perch in the dense forest, darling off only to capture insects.  The ancient Mayas and Aztecs found the quetzal so impressive that no one was allowed to harm it.

They used the long tail feathers (plucked without harm to the living bird) as symbol of authority and religion.  Only chiefs and priests were allowed to wear them.

Today the quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, where it appears on postage stamps, coins and on the state seal.  Guatemala is sometimes called the “Land of the Quetzal.”  – Dick Rogers

Why does a peacock raise its feathers?

Peacock

The handsome peacock spreads his feathers into a gorgeous fan when he courts the female, or peahen.  A peacock is a bird with beautiful, rainbow-colored feathers.  Its range is really “peafowl”.

The male bird is called a peacock.  It is about as large as a turkey and has a long train or greenish feathers brilliantly spotted with bronze blue, green and gold.  A crest adorns his head.

The feather which grow from the back (and not the tail), are spread out into a gorgeous fan as the bird struts back and forth, “proud as a peacock ,” for all to see.

His majestic parade of flashing colors is actually a courtship display to charm the female, or peahen, and persuade her that he is the most handsome peacock.  The peahen is less brightly colored and has no train of feathers.

As you might imagine, the peacock’s magnificent plumage has made it a favorite parts of the world.  A peacock’s call is so loud it can be heard far away.  It sounds like a human screaming.  – Dick Rogers

What Is a cassowary?

Cassowary

The cassowary is a large, odd-looking bird that lives in the thick forest of Australia and New Guinea.  A fully grown cassowary may be five feet tall and weigh two pounds or more.

Like the African relative the ostrich, the cassowary cannot fly.  All that remains of its flight feathers are a few spiny quilts, but it can sprint at speeds of at nearly 40 miles per hour for its long powerful legs, when it danger.

A bony helmet on its featherless head  helps it butt through the heavy underbrush.  Tough bristle like feathers that cover it body serve as a form of armor as it crashes headlong the forest.

A threatened cassowary can be a dangerous foe.  All three of the toes on each foot are armed with knife-sharp claws which can be a deadly weapon in a flight.  Usually, these shy birds are  heard more often than soon in their dense forest home.  They call by snorting and bellowing. – Dick Rogers