Bird Trivia: Funny, Strange and Incredible Facts about North American Birds

Bird Trivia: Funny, Strange and Incredible Facts about North American Birds

by Stan Tekiela

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591938101
Publisher: Adventure Publications, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 80
Sales rank: 178,890
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela is the author of more than 175 field guides, nature books, children’s books, wildlife audio CDs and playing cards, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti in the United States. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 25 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and Canada. He has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs. Also a well-known columnist and radio personality, his syndicated column appears in more than 25 newspapers and his wildlife programs are broadcast on a number of Midwest radio stations. Stan can be followed on Facebook and Twitter. He can be contacted via www.naturesmart.com.

Read an Excerpt

WILD ADAPTATIONS

Osprey “Fingerprints” The Osprey is a fish-eating raptor with special feet. Small, spine-tipped projections, called papillae, on the bottom of their feet help them hold their slippery fish prey. The patterns of papillae are unique to each individual bird. So just as fingerprints identify people, Ospreys can be identified by their papillae prints!

Shock Absorbers Needed Experiments on Red-headed Woodpeckers show that they have the highest g-forces (g’s) of all woodpeckers. When pecking wood, they hit trees with an impact velocity of up to 20 times per second about 12,000 times a day! This subjects the brain to a deceleration of around 1,000 g’s. By comparison, astronauts on space shuttles experience 3.5 g’s during takeoff.

Woodpeckers have a spongy pad between the bill and the skull that helps absorb shock. They also have lightweight brains without a lot of mass, so their brains don’t hit the inside of the skull very hard with each blow. In addition, they have an extremely long tongue that wraps around the outside of the skull and anchors at the base of the bill. This provides even more shock-absorbing properties.

Head-Turners No, owls cannot twist their heads all the way around, as some people think. With 14 vertebrae in their necks (people have half as many), owls can turn their heads to an incredible 280 degrees!

Climbing Shoes Bird claws are well adapted for daily activities. Birds that climb tree trunks, for example, have claws that are more curved compared with those of non-climbing species. Nuthatches, creepers, and even some warbler species, such as the Black-and-white Warbler, are tree climbers, and they all have modified claws.

Weight Trimmers Birds have several modified body parts that reduce their weight and make flying more efficient. First and foremost, they have hollow bones (pneumatic bones). To give strength and rigidity to the bones, there are struts, or branches, on the inside.

In addition, birds have a strong, yet lightweight, beak. The beak tears and slices through food, functioning in much the same way as teeth. Birds also use their beaks to carry materials for nest building, as well as food to the babies in the nest.

Birds are covered with a coat of feathers. Feathers are an efficient, lightweight body covering. Hollow bones, lightweight beaks and feathers help reduce the overall weight of birds, which, at the same time, gives them the freedom of flight.

Not all birds, however, have hollow bones. Some aquatic birds, such as loons and penguins, have semisolid bones (semipneumatic bones), making them heavier than other birds of similar size. The added weight increases their density, which makes their bodies ride lower in water and decreases the amount of energy needed to swim underwater, where they spend much of their life.

Table of Contents

The Magnificent World of Birds

Funny Bird Behaviors

Wild Adaptations

Record Holders

Rare and Exceptional Birds

Wait, What’s That Bird Called?

Birdsong, Calls and More

Amazing Anatomy

Feats of Flight

Migration Hall of Fame

All About Nests

Babies on the Way!

Rearing the Chicks

Enjoying the Birds in Your World

About the Author

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