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1000.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:18 am Reply with quote

A big 'B' subject on which at least one of us is something of an expert (not me I hasten to add).

1001.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:20 am Reply with quote

The French expression 'J'ai des rossignols' (I've got nightingales) means unexplained noises coming from a car.

s: BOB

1002.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:29 am Reply with quote

In 1860, there were only 42 pairs of Great Crested Grebes in Britain.

All the rest had been skinned and made into ladies' hats.

s: BBB

1003.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:35 am Reply with quote

There is more than a 30,000-fold difference in weight between the largest and the smallest known birds' eggs.

s: ANP p 47

1004.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:37 am Reply with quote

Eggs 'breathe'.

The average hen's egg has more than 10,000 pores in its shell.

s: ANP

1005.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 9:00 am Reply with quote

The Tibetan snowcock lives at a higher altitude than any other bird.

The world's tallest flying birds are cranes. They can be up to 6'6" tall.

s: EBI

1011.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 10:34 am Reply with quote

If birds are evolutionarily descended from dinosaurs, I wonder whether flightless birds like the ostrich bear a closer resemblance to their ancestors or whether the ancestors of ostriches used to be able to fly and why they lost the ability.

1015.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 11:05 am Reply with quote

Actually, Jenny, I've just been reading about this. The latter is the case, they think.

Flying is such an exhausting activity that birds appear to give it up at the earliest possible evolutionary opportunity...

1027.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:13 pm Reply with quote

According to the recent P.B.S. series, Dinosaurs, birds are not evolved from reptiles, but are believed to be direct descendents of the dinosaurs.

There is evidence that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, like birds; lived in colonies like penguins or gulls; fed their young; and migrated in groups.

Gizzard stones have been found in some intact fossils. such as the brontosaurus. In "Eggmountain" Montana, fossilized hadrosaur eggs and young were found in colonies very similar to those of penguins or gulls. Fossilized food was even found in some nests, indicating that the adults fed their young. Fossil footprints have shown that some adult and immature dinosaurs travelled in groups, as if migrating.

1032.  Sat Nov 01, 2003 5:40 pm Reply with quote

When I see film of ostriches moving, it always makes me think of the way dinosaurs moved. And ostriches defend themselves by kicking out with their feet in a way that has a dinosaurish feel about it. And there's something about the head shape too. But I think any decent palaeontologist will shoot that down in flames.

1209.  Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:28 pm Reply with quote

A friend of mine was talking to me about red-crowned cranes last night. Apparently the Three Gorges dam in China is going to ruin their habitat, as well as causing all sorts of other ecological disasters whilst creating a reservoir longer than Britain. But Shanghai needs electricity, so needs must, apparently.

Frederick The Monk
1213.  Thu Nov 06, 2003 6:03 pm Reply with quote

I was recently sent a splendid CD entitled 'New Age Loon' which at first I assumed to be someone trilling about the age of aquarius or some such but no - looking at the sleeve notes it's 'new age' music made using synthesised samples of the cries of the Loon, which it says is a diving bird of the genus gavia!

So there we have it.

1216.  Thu Nov 06, 2003 7:55 pm Reply with quote

Ostriches' eyes are bigger than their brains.

1241.  Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:36 am Reply with quote

My mother always used to quote a rhyme to me, if I put too much food on my plate and then couldn't eat it all:

A strange-looking bird is the pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can.

I have no idea whether this is factually true or not, or just one of those things that mothers say. In fact that gives me an idea for a thread.

1275.  Sun Nov 09, 2003 4:48 am Reply with quote

The Common Cormorant, or Shag,
Lays eggs inside a paper bag

...was what my father always used to say on this subject. (I'll be posting some of his non-avian dicta on the Aged Relative Thread when I have a moment...)

When danger threatens woodcock ferry their young to safety by clenching them between their legs. It takes several trips to air-lift a whole family.

A flock of snipe is known as a 'wisp'.

Startled snipe make a noise that sounds like tearing cloth.

The Jack Snipe is unique amongst birds. When feeding amongst other snipe, or in vegetation, it bounces rhythmically up and down. No one knows why.

Nobody knows where the word 'snipe' comes from.

s: BBB


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