Birds of a feather flock together
Haliaeetus leucocephalus • (Bald eagle) • Introduction of birds with • some important features • Common symptoms • between eagle and falcon • General bird themes • Birds of prey • Common symptoms between birds of prey…hawk, eagle and falcon • Buteo jamaicensis (Hawk) • Columba pal (Dove) • Larus argentatus (Sea-gull) • Corvus corax (Raven) • Macaw • Vultur gryphus (Condor) • Falcon peregrinus • (Peregrine falcon)
Bird Structure Birds are vertebrates with feathers. They resemble other vertebrates (mammal, reptiles, amphibians and fish) in most major aspects of architecture, bodily, organization, and function. In birds, however, the tail is reduced to a single bony stub, called the pygostyle. Most distinctive of all, birds forelimbs have been strongly modified to form wings.
Flight and Feathers Other vertebrate groups have some members that can fly, but only among birds is flight common to virtually all. In their general anatomy, birds most nearly resemble reptiles, but like mammals, they are warm-blooded. Birds have extraordinarily acute eyesight and exceptional hearing, but their olfactory sense is much less acute than most mammals. Their primary identifying (and diagnostic) feature is that the are only animals with feathers.
Uniformity One striking characteristic of birds compared to many other animal groups is their relative uniformity. Birds are indeed extraordinarily diverse in their characteristics of their plumage – color, pattern and various ‘add-ons’ such as plumes, crests, ruffs and tassels. But much of this diversity fades away at a structural level.
Anatomy and Physiology The forelimbs are specially modified to form wings; the bones of the wrist, hand, and fingers are fused together so that only the second digit or finger is visible. The wings are powered by relatively enormous muscles (totaling one quarter to one third of the total body mass of some birds), most of which are attached to a deep keel-shaped structure jutting from the front of the sternum or breast bone.
The wings support the entire body weight in the air, but the hind limbs support the entire weight on the ground.
The bill The shape and structure of the bill varies considerably among birds and these characteristics reveal the fair reliability the owner’s usual diet and way of life. This is partly because birds cannot chew, so the bill functions as the prime food handling device.
Bill variations Most seed-eating birds have deep, short, conical bills, designed to function like a nut–cracker. Fish-eating birds, such as Herons (ardeidae) and Anhingas (anhingidae), often have long, pointed, dagger-like bills for spearing prey. Carnivorous birds, such as hawks and eagles (accipitridae), have deep, powerful, sharply hooked bills for tearing flesh.
The gizzard The function of teeth is largely taken over by a muscular, pouch-like organ called the gizzard. The gizzard is most strongly developed in seed-eating birds, but rather less so in those that leave mainly on insects, nectar or the flesh of other vertebrates.
The heart Like the mammalian heart, the bird’s heart is in essence a double-action pump with four chambers, two of which regulate the flow of blood to the lungs, while the other pair recovers it from the lungs and distributes the oxygenated through the arterial system to all parts of the body.
The lungs The system of air-sacs can be visualized as a posterior set and a forward set, with the lungs suspended between them in such a way that air flows through he lungs (not in – and – out as in mammals) as it circulates throughout the air-sac system.
This means that the process of extracting Carbon dioxide from the blood and recharging it with oxygen is continuous, rather than cyclical, and is considerably more efficient than in mammalian lungs – a bird’s lung is considerably smaller in relation to its total body weight than a mammal’s lung, despite the greater oxygenation depends imposed by flight.
Diet Birds tend to target foods resources for high nutritional value and speedy digestion. Though there are expectations, the diet of most birds is made up f small animals (including fish), insects, fruits, seeds, or nectar or a combination of these, e.g. many songbirds alternate between an insect diet in summer and a seed diet in winter.
Feather Structure Feathers are unique to birds. Feathers emerge from follicles deeply embedded in the skin, and many are equipped with unstriated muscles that allow some degree of movement under the bird’s control. Feathers are made almost entirely of keratin, the same substance from which horse’s hooves, tiger’s claws and human hair and fingernails are constructed. Their uniqueness lies more in their structure than their composition.
Preening Like a cat grooming its fur, a healthy bird spends as much time preening. The bird takes each of its feathers in turn and uses it bill to nibble the length of the feather. This grooming action serves to reattach all the hooklets that may have become detached since the last preening session.
Molt Eventually feathers wear out, and they can no longer perform their chief functions of facilitating flight and insulation. They are then shed and replaced with new ones. The process of shedding old, worn, or damaged feathers is referred to as molt.
The molt involves two distinctly separate event; the shedding of the old feather and the growth of the new one in its place. Normally the molt is a rigidly structured process as least as far as it involves the flight feathers, and often other tracts as well.
Gender Gender is third common factor. Among birds, males frequently wear a plumage that differs conspicuously from that of females. Such differences usually apply only to adult birds. However, sometime the sexes are noticeably different even among immature or juveniles, and there are even cases where juveniles differ in ways that are not evident in adults.
Mechanical bird sounds More than most animals, birds use sound as a means of interacting with others of their own species and, in some cases with other species. Many birds produce sound by a wide variety of purely mechanical means.
Vocal bird sounds In general, songs are those sounds used during the breeding season and involved with either courtship or the defense of territory. Songs are usually uttered by males, but in some species it is the female that sings, and in many species both sexes sing, either independently or in the form of duets or choruses.
Functions of bird song Song has two chief functions: to proclaim territory and repel rivals, and to attract potential males. The two functions often overlap, and no generalizations are possible even among closely related species.
Mimicry Results gained in investigations suggest that mimicry in birds may have arisen because borrowing a sound from his surroundings could be the simplest way for a male songbird to increase the complexity of his song to attract a mate.
Territory For birds, territory is an area where the occupant challenges and attempts to evict all trespassers of the same species. In songbirds territorial boundaries are often marked by perches from which the occupant sings to announce to neighbors that the territory is taken and any trespasser risks a fight. Sometimes special displays and other behaviors are used instead. Normally it the male who establishes and maintains a territory, but not always.
Many birds establish territories to secure sole rights to single resources such as food or a preferred roosting site.
Because the boundaries of territories must be continuously patrolled to ensure their security, true territories in birds are seldom larger than a few hectares, and often much less. Beyond a certain point, the time and energy cost of patrolling a territory’s boundaries exceeds the value of the resource defended.
Some predatory birds, such as many hawks, extent the concept of territory to include one of ‘home range’.
Courtship The nuclear family situation, in which a single mature male forms a pair – bond with a single mature female during the rearing of a single brood of offspring, is common to 90% of all birds. Polygyny (males with multiple mates) and polyandry (females with multiple mates) are also widespread among birds.
Many bird species habitually form pairs that last for life, while others trade partners after every brood, and some form no pair bonds at all. Where no pair bond is formed, it is usual for the females to visit males at special display grounds (which may be solitary or communal), where copulation occurs. The female leaves to build a nest, lay her eggs and rear her young without further involvement by the male parent.
A notable example of the solitary display ground is in the case of the bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchidae). Mature males build and decorate large structures (bowers) on the ground for the sole purpose enticing females to mate. Once established, such bowers are almost constantly maintained and refurbished throughout the life of the owner. Sometimes display grounds are communal, in which case they are generally referred to as leks.
Songs are used by many birds to announce their territories, repel rivals, and advertise for mates. These are reinforced, supplemented, or replaced by a wide range of visual displays. These range from simple presentations of particular plumage features, as when a European
Robin Erithacus rubecula fluffs out its breast in an attempt to intimidate a rival, to the elaborate courtship performances involving spectacular or brightly colored plumes or similar devices.
Habitat Demand precise habitat requirements; their distribution is strongly influenced by patterns of plant diversity, which in turn are influenced by climactic factors such as temperature and rainfall.
Habitat ranges from desert to grassland to woodland and rain forest e.g. larks and pipits are common to desert and grasslands; towcans and birds of paradise have no desert inhabiting members; pigeons and doves (columbidae) are universally seen in almost faunal regions.
General Bird Themes • Adventure • Awareness Heightened • Beauty • Can understand feeling without verbal • communication • Clairvoyant
Competitive • Country desire for • Creative • Communication
Eats Frequently • Excessive energy in the form of • restlessness that chiefly arise • from suppressed emotions • Extremely emotional • Group – Society – Lonely also
Hyperactive • Mimics (Macaw) • Mysticism • Sense of Danger • Sensitive to all external impressions
Singing • Skills • Strong need for freedom • Suffocates in situations that demand • responsibility, attachment and duty
Territory • Whistling • Visionary; can see and sense • events and persons • Very spiritual
BIRDS OF PREY Hawk A Bird of prey used in falconry, any diurnal bird of prey of the family (Accipitridae). Hawk – eye is a keen sighted.
BIRDS OF PREY Falcon Any diurnal bird of prey in falconry belonging to the genus – Falco characterized by long pointed wings. Falconer A person who breeds , keeps and trains falcon or other birds of prey, one who hunts with such birds, a follower of sport on falconry.
BIRDS OF PREY Falconry The breeding, keeping and training of the falcons or the other birds of prey. The sport or practice of hunting using such birds.
Buteo jamaicensis (Red –Tailed hawk)
RED TAILED HAWK The term Hawk is often applied to other birds in the family Accipitridae (such as kites, buzzard, harriers and sometimes is extended to include certain members of the family Falconidae (falcons and caracaras). The majority of hawks are more useful to humans than harmful, but thee is still widespread prejudice against them.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS The Buteos, also called Buzzard hawks, are broad winged,Wide Tailed, Soaring Raptors found In The New World, Eurasia and Africa. The red- tailed (Buteo jamaicensis, see photograph), the most common North American species, is about 60 cm long, varying in colour but generally brownish and somewhat lighter below with a rufous- colour tail.
This beneficial hunter preys mainly on rod but it also catches other small mammals as well as various birds, reptiles (including rattlesnakes and copperheads), amphibians, and even insects. There is sexual dimorphism in size females are 25% larger than the males. The eye colour of the Hawk changes from yellowish gray when immature to dark brown in adults.
FOOD HABITS Red-tailed hawk feed on a wide variety of prey, using their powerful claws as weapons. 80- 85% of their diet consists of small rodents. Male red-winged blackbirds are often eaten because of their open visibility when guarding their nests.
Reproduction Red- tails usually begin breeding when they are three years old. Red- tails tend to be monogamous, only finding a mew mate when theirs dies. A sure sign of breeding in the spring is that the male and female perch in the same tree to hunt. During courtship the birds soar near each other in circles with flights lasting 10 minutes or more. Mating usually takes place following this. One to five eggs are laid around the first week of April. Both parents help to incubate the eggs