Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bird Facts

Birds are born with a certain number of feathers, and they're unable to grow new ones. Specifically, it's the quill part of the feather they can't grow back, like when you find a lost feather on the ground, the big long stem. However, when a bird looses a feather, the feathers around it grow wider or longer to compensate for it. There is almost no limit to how big a bird feather can get under the right circumstances, as evidenced by the tail of a peacock.

One time my friend and I saw pigeon that has lost all but two of it's feathers. The two remaining feathers had grown to over 6 feet long to try and compensate.


Anonymous calculatus eliminatus said...

Evidently the early Greeks were well aware of this and used to "groom" certain birds to produce larger plumage for various reasons, mostly for fashion and decorative purposes.

It's also generally assumed by most scholars that this knowledge was eventually synthesized into the legend of Icarus--since it only makes sense that at some point somebody would have tried binding a bunch of these oversized feathers together and leaping about and flapping their arms...

10:46 AM  
Blogger LeoBro said...

Due to a rare genetic condition, sometimes birds have feathers that grow inward instead of outward. These reverse feathers grow right between various internal organs, and are sometimes fatal. A reverse feather that originates on one side of the head will penetrate the brain and emerge on the other side.

6:53 AM  

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