ghostydog

flemmlii:

avianawareness:

Because feathers do so many jobs there needs to be more than one type of feather. Some of them are long and strong for flying and steering. Others are soft and fuzzy. These feathers are very good for keeping the bird warm. In fact, we have learned to use these soft feathers in our clothing and bedding to help keep us warm. You might have had a down comforter on your bed or wear a down jacket when it is cold outside. These are things that are filled with soft downy feathers.

If you look at the different feather types above, you will see that they come in many shapes and sizes. The types we see the most often are tail and flight feathers (also called vaned or contour feathers). At first look they may seem the same, but actually are different. Tail feathers are balanced left and right of the center. Flight feathers have a wider and narrower side. This makes them better for flying because they can cut through the air with very little resistance (also called drag).

Other types of feathers are made for use on the body of the bird. The downy feathers that are good for warmth are shown on the far right. Semiplume feathers also help to keep birds warm and for water birds help them float. The bristle feathers are found around eyes, nostrils, and for some birds that like to catch flying insects they can be seen around their mouths. Filoplume (file-o-ploom) feathers are can be found around the tail and flight feathers. They are thought to be used to sense when the flight feathers need to be maintained.

No matter what type of feather, they all have similar parts. Below is a drawing of a feather showing all the parts that you might find on a feather. Not all feathers have all the parts. For example downy feathers are missing the stiff barbs and vane. You will also see that flight feathers have very little or no downy barbs.

We learned about different feather types in my Ornithology class last year. It was really interesting. Especially the part about the flight feathers. I had to take a good look at Sammy’s wings to see the venation. :3 

scientificillustration

dailyfossil:

Argentavis magnificens 

When: Late Miocene (~6 million years ago)

Where: Argentina

What: Argentavis is the largest flighted bird there ever was. Its wingspan has been estimated at 23 feet (~7 meters), almost double that of the largest flying bird that soars today’s skys, the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans). All specimens of this avaian have been found in Argentina, hence its name, which means ‘magnificent Argentine bird’. Recent studies looking at the biomechanics of flight in Argentavis have determined that it was a soaring bird, like today’s condors and vultures. It would have easily glided upon the strong thermals above the Argentine pampas, but getting up to those winds was a bit more of a challenge. It was too large to just flap its wings and take off, even when it was standing in a strong headwind. Instead Argentavis would have had to run down a steep hill or jumped from a high perch in order to take to the skies. Once it was up there, however, it is estimated it could have soared for hours, hunting for prey as it rode the late afternoon thermals. 

vintar
vintar:

rhamphotheca:

Big, Beastly, and very Extinct Birds
by Scrubmuncher
In the right circumstances birds can evolve into giants. In the vast majority of cases they have done this on oceanic islands in the absence of any large land predators and most of these extinct giant birds are decidedly lacking when it comes to predatory ferocity, as birds like the moa and elephant bird attest; big, but decidedly vegetarian animals.
However, a long-legged bird living in South America several million years ago, probably very similar to the living seriemas (Cariama cristata and Chunga burmeisteri), gave rise to a group of birds collectively known as terror birds (, technically known as phorusrhacids) and as their name suggests they were not the sort of feathered critters you would find nibbling nuts at a bird-table. They were big birds; the smallest of the 17 known species were at least 1m tall, while Brontornis burmeisteri stood as high as 3m and may have weighed as much as 350–400 kg, but even B. burmeisteri may have looked a bit pathetic next to an even bigger species, the skull of which was discovered by a high school student in Patagonia in 2003.

(image: Terror bird (Paraphysornis brasiliensis) by Renata Cunha, from Extinct Animals, Greenwood Press)
There’s every possibility these animals were the largest birds ever to have lived and all of them were undoubtedly fierce predators. Why these nightmarish birds came to evolve in South America is not fully understood, as no other place on Earth has ever produced a group of predatory giant birds. Gigantism in birds is normally associated with herbivory, yet whatever conditions prevailed in South America many millions of years ago allowed the evolution of a varied group of feathered carnivores that were around for a huge stretch of time; from around 60 million years ago to about 1.8 million years ago, which goes to show how successful these birds were…
(read more: Scrubmuncher’s Blog)  
(top image: A selection of terror birds and silhouette of a man (1.75 m high) for scale, byHerculano M.F.  Alvarenga)
**********
* thanks to the lovely and brilliant Sagittariidae for letting us know about this article!!!



no other place on Earth has ever produced a group of predatory giant birds

everyone’s always forgetting about Australia! man, when it comes to looking at bizarre animals, check the antipodes first. it’s kind of our thing.


this dapper chap is Bullockornis, also called the Demon Duck (of Doom), and it stood 2.5 meters tall and weighed up to half a ton. in another example of South American-Australian convergence, it’s entirely unrelated to the terror birds— Bullockornis was a duck and the terror birds were either related to cranes or a bunch of modern, derived birds— but it’s pretty similar.
it had a lot of omnivorous sister species, but recent studies suggest that Bullockornis lived mainly on a diet of giant wombats, kangaroos, and possums, making it more or less the most terrifying bird ever. along with the other giant Australian birds, it was driven to extinction by the spread of Indigenous Australians.
Just to emphasise that point: at some stage in history there was a war between humans and giant carnivorous ducks.
I think we’re all the poorer for that having happened before the invention of the video camera.

Sorry for being terribly unscientific, but…

…whenever I see an article about terror birds, I have very vivid flashbacks of being pecked within an inch of my life by some random chocobo I was trying to catch ¬_¬Hmm, I wonder… were these guys discovered before 1987? I’ve only read about them quite recently, but it would be funny if they’d been an inspiration X3
I think we’re all the poorer for that having happened before the invention of the video camera.
Now that's a movie I'd like to see *_*

vintar:

rhamphotheca:

Big, Beastly, and very Extinct Birds

by Scrubmuncher

In the right circumstances birds can evolve into giants. In the vast majority of cases they have done this on oceanic islands in the absence of any large land predators and most of these extinct giant birds are decidedly lacking when it comes to predatory ferocity, as birds like the moa and elephant bird attest; big, but decidedly vegetarian animals.

However, a long-legged bird living in South America several million years ago, probably very similar to the living seriemas (Cariama cristata and Chunga burmeisteri), gave rise to a group of birds collectively known as terror birds (, technically known as phorusrhacids) and as their name suggests they were not the sort of feathered critters you would find nibbling nuts at a bird-table. They were big birds; the smallest of the 17 known species were at least 1m tall, while Brontornis burmeisteri stood as high as 3m and may have weighed as much as 350–400 kg, but even B. burmeisteri may have looked a bit pathetic next to an even bigger species, the skull of which was discovered by a high school student in Patagonia in 2003.

(image: Terror bird (Paraphysornis brasiliensis) by Renata Cunha, from Extinct Animals, Greenwood Press)

There’s every possibility these animals were the largest birds ever to have lived and all of them were undoubtedly fierce predators. Why these nightmarish birds came to evolve in South America is not fully understood, as no other place on Earth has ever produced a group of predatory giant birds. Gigantism in birds is normally associated with herbivory, yet whatever conditions prevailed in South America many millions of years ago allowed the evolution of a varied group of feathered carnivores that were around for a huge stretch of time; from around 60 million years ago to about 1.8 million years ago, which goes to show how successful these birds were…

(read more: Scrubmuncher’s Blog)  

(top image: A selection of terror birds and silhouette of a man (1.75 m high) for scale, byHerculano M.F. Alvarenga)

**********

* thanks to the lovely and brilliant Sagittariidae for letting us know about this article!!!

no other place on Earth has ever produced a group of predatory giant birds

everyone’s always forgetting about Australia! man, when it comes to looking at bizarre animals, check the antipodes first. it’s kind of our thing.

this dapper chap is Bullockornis, also called the Demon Duck (of Doom), and it stood 2.5 meters tall and weighed up to half a ton. in another example of South American-Australian convergence, it’s entirely unrelated to the terror birds— Bullockornis was a duck and the terror birds were either related to cranes or a bunch of modern, derived birds— but it’s pretty similar.

it had a lot of omnivorous sister species, but recent studies suggest that Bullockornis lived mainly on a diet of giant wombats, kangaroos, and possums, making it more or less the most terrifying bird ever. along with the other giant Australian birds, it was driven to extinction by the spread of Indigenous Australians.

Just to emphasise that point: at some stage in history there was a war between humans and giant carnivorous ducks.

I think we’re all the poorer for that having happened before the invention of the video camera.

Sorry for being terribly unscientific, but…

…whenever I see an article about terror birds, I have very vivid flashbacks of being pecked within an inch of my life by some random chocobo I was trying to catch ¬_¬
Hmm, I wonder… were these guys discovered before 1987? I’ve only read about them quite recently, but it would be funny if they’d been an inspiration X3

I think we’re all the poorer for that having happened before the invention of the video camera.

Now that's a movie I'd like to see *_*

vintar

vintar:

choreamajor:

toptumbles:

Bird makes himself some fabulous extensions

I love birds

o hey

BIRDFACTS TIME

This is a peach-faced lovebird showing off how it carries nesting materials back to its nest. There’s another species called the Fischer’s lovebird, which is closely related to the peach-faced but carries its nesting materials home in its beak

What’s interesting is what happens when they hybridise— the Fischer’s/peach-faced cross will try tucking material into its tail-feathers, but not be able to do it properly. Because it doesn’t have the full complement of genes needed to complete the behaviour, it just keeps fucking it up! Eventually it learns that it doesn’t work, gives up, and just carries material in its beak… but even then it will still make abortive attempts to tail-carry, because something deep-down keeps telling it to.

We’re used to thinking of genes as things that control feather colour and size and other physical traits, but they also control a lot of behavioural patterns. This is why artificially-introduced species that hybridise easily are ecologically awful. Another example of gene-based behaviours being messed with occurs here in Australia, where ducks always have to be ready to migrate when resources dry up (completely unlike the fixed seasonal migrations of Northern hemisphere birds, because Australia is extremely seasonally unpredictable). When introduced European mallards fuck our ducks, the resulting generation are unable to migrate properly, and when everything dries up they stay put and die.

I dunno, I find genetically-based behaviours utterly fascinating. Humans as mammals are used to thinking of behaviour as a plastic thing, but that’s not always the case for a lot of animals.

bearded vulture (gypaetus barbatus) at Alpenzoo Innsbruck by misomeri on Flickr.Via Flickr:
my boyfriend and I agreed that this is the boss pokémon of the fire element represented in the zoo.
this big-ass bird (biggest bird of the alps, wing span goes up to 2,9 m) looks terrifying and daft at the same time. utterly fascinating creature, I say.
Bearded vultures were on the brink of extinction as they had been hunted mercilessly as “savage beasts” in the 19th century, but thanks to the breeding program of the zoo there are about 120 of them living in the alps today.
btw, his orange/brown feathers are usually white. Bearded vultures enjoy bathing in puddles with mud containing iron oxide, which colours their “mane”.

bearded vulture (gypaetus barbatus) at Alpenzoo Innsbruck by misomeri on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
my boyfriend and I agreed that this is the boss pokémon of the fire element represented in the zoo.
this big-ass bird (biggest bird of the alps, wing span goes up to 2,9 m) looks terrifying and daft at the same time. utterly fascinating creature, I say.

Bearded vultures were on the brink of extinction as they had been hunted mercilessly as “savage beasts” in the 19th century, but thanks to the breeding program of the zoo there are about 120 of them living in the alps today.

btw, his orange/brown feathers are usually white. Bearded vultures enjoy bathing in puddles with mud containing iron oxide, which colours their “mane”.