Where is the wishbone in animals?

Where is the wishbone in animals?

The scientific name for a wishbone is the furcula, which is Latin for ‘little fork.’

The furcula is a forked bone with two slightly curved parts that meet at the top, forming a type of V-shape.  There is a tradition that if two people each pull one side of the bone, it will snap, and the person who gets the larger part can make a wish.

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RESEARCH: Birds that live near the Equator are more colourful

Birds that live near the Equator are more colourful than birds living further away from the Equator, thought naturalists Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859). In fact, von Humboldt noted that insects and even aquatic creatures, such as crayfish, seemed to be more colourful nearer the Equator.  

The Equator is the imaginary circle at zero degrees latitude that divides the Earth between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is a line at the centre of the Earth (the ‘waist line’) halfway between the North Pole and the South Pole. Countries on and near the Equator have tropical climates.

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RESEARCH: The four most common wild bird species in the world

There are 50 billion wild birds on Earth – but four species dominate – says a New Scientist article on 17 May 2021.

Earth has around 50 billion wild bird species according to a new global estimate, but most species are very rare and only a handful number in the billions.

Just four wild species have over a billion individuals, and they are the most common wild bird species in the world. This is in contrast to 1,180 species that have less than 5,000 individual birds each.

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Flight: How do birds fly?

How do birds fly?

Not all birds fly. Some birds fly for short distances, and some birds can fly for long distances. Some birds can fly very high, and some birds stay close to the ground. 

To fly, birds need (1) wings, (2) flight muscles, (3) a streamlined body, (4) thin, light or hollow bones, and (5) strong but light flight feathers.

Birds need flight feathers on their wings and tail that let air flow through and around the feathers.

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World Migratory Bird Day

World Migratory Bird Day is held annually on the second Saturday in May and the second Saturday in October. In 2020, it will be held on 9-10 May. The 2020 theme for World Migratory Bird Day is ‘Birds Connect Our World.’

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to raise awareness of the need to conserve migratory birds and their habitats. 

The 2020 theme of ‘Birds Connect Our World’ focuses on the three flyways (three main migratory routes in the world). WMBD aims to increase awareness about general and specific threats that birds are facing when they migrate.

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Do Animals eat Cactus Plants?

Do animals eat cactus plants? 

Cactus plants in the Cactaceae family of spiny plants. Most cactus plants live in dry, desert environments. They are common in America, South America, and Africa.

The plural of cactus is cacti or cactuses.

Cacti can be tree-like with branches, domed or ball-shaped, and thick or thin columns. They have flowers of various colours, shapes, and sizes. Fruit is produced after the flowers are fertilized. 

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Eurasian Collared Dove

The Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is a medium-sized bird. It is closely related to the Island Collared Dove, the African Collared Dove, and the Spotted Turtle-Dove.

The Eurasian Collared Dove has a long tail, and a slim pinkish-grey body that is darker above and paler below, with a blue-grey underwing patch. It has a black half-collar around its neck. Its tail is grey-buff above and dark grey underneath. It has short reddish legs, a black beak, and red eyes (but from a distance, its eyes look black). It has white or yellow bare skin around its eyes. 

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RESEARCH: Bird feeders – are they good for birds?

Bird feeders are containers filled with birdseed and placed in the garden to attract wild birds.

A British study has found that putting bird feeders in your garden helps the growth of bird populations.

The study, published in May 2019 in the Nature Communications journal, looked at the advantages, disadvantages and impact of bird feeders in people’s garden over the past 40 years.

The researcher, Kate Plummer of the British Trust for Ornithology, and a team of volunteers, have been monitoring the species of birds that feed on seeds and fruit from bird feeders across England since the 1970s. 

The 40-year data shows that about 68 species of birds have always used the bird feeders from the 1970s to the present day. 

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Animal Ears: do big animals have big ears?

Do big animals have big ears and small animals have small ears? No, animal ears are many sizes and shapes.

Most ears have an outer ear (a pinna, a canal, and an eardrum), a middle ear, and an inner ear.

The pinna is the fleshy part that is visible. It is made of cartilage, not bone, so it is soft. It usually also has an ear lobe. The pinna directs sound through the canal to the eardrum.

The pinna has a muscle that moves the ear. For example, elephants and dogs can move their ears. Animals move their ears in the direction of a sound so that they can hear better.

Not all animals can move their ears because they have weak and non-functioning ear muscles. Animals that cannot move their ears include gorillas and monkeys. Humans cannot move their ears (without touching them).

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Deserts and Semi-Deserts

In true deserts, most of the land has no plant life, the annual rainfall ranges from 0-1.5 centimetres (0-6 inches), the daytime heat is intense and the nighttime temperatures are freezing.

Semi-deserts have 1.5-3 centimetres (6-12 inches) of rain annually on average, usually only falling in one or two months of the year.

Deserts can be hot, cold semi-arid, or coastal.

Plants may be scarce in most deserts, but the seeds of plants lie dormant for years. They sprout during the times of rain.

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