Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises
|The origin of birds
has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years,
but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds
are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.
A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960's by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships.
The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs.
PHOEBE - DOWNY
WOODPECKER - YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER
A Guide To Bird Neighbors - Part 10
|The reunited, happy
couple go about the garden and outbuildings like domesticated wrens,
investigating the crannies on piazzas, where people may be coming and
going, and boldly entering barn-lofts to find a suitable site for the
nest that it must take much of both time and skill to build.
Pewit, phoebe, phoebe; pewit, phoebe, they contentedly but rather monotonously sing as they investigate all the sites in the neighborhood. Presently a location is chosen under a beam or rafter, and the work of collecting moss and mud for the foundation and hair and feathers or wool to line the exquisite little home begins.
But the labor is done cheerfully, with many a sally in midair either to let off superfluous high spirits or to catch a morsel on the wing, and with many a vivacious outburst of what by courtesy only we may name a song.
When not domesticated, as these birds are rapidly becoming, the phoebes dearly love a cool, wet woodland retreat. Here they hunt and bathe; here they also build in a rocky bank or ledge of rocks or underneath a bridge, but always with clever adaptation of their nest to its surroundings, out of which it seems a natural growth. It is one of the most finished, beautiful nests ever found.
A pair of phoebes become attached to a spot where they have once nested; they never stray far from it, and return to it regularly, though they may not again occupy the old nest.
This is because it soon becomes infested with lice from the hen's feathers used in lining it, for which reason too close relationship with this friendly bird-neighbor is discouraged by thrifty housekeepers. When the baby birds have come out from the four or six little white eggs, their helpless bodies are mercilessly attacked by parasites, and are often so enfeebled that half the brood die.
The next season another nest will be built near the first, the following summer still another, until it would appear that a colony of birds had made their homes in the place.
Throughout the long summer - for as the phoebe is the first flycatcher to come, so it is the last to go - the bird is a tireless hunter of insects, which it catches on the wing with a sharp click of its beak like the other members of its dexterous family.
Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) is the Western representative of the Eastern species, which it resembles in coloring and many of its habits.
It is the bird of the open plains, a tireless hunter in midair sallies from an isolated perch, and has the same vibrating motion of the tail that the Eastern phoebe indulges in when excited. This bird differs chiefly in it's lighter coloring, but not in habits, from the black pewee of the Pacific slope.
About Birds - Site Index
Neighbors - Part 1 - Bird
Neighbors - Part 2
Bird Neighbors - Part 3 - Bird Neighbors - Part 4
Bird Neighbors - Part 5 - Bird Neighbors - Part 6
Bird Neighbors - Part 7 - Bird Neighbors - Part 8
Bird Neighbors - Part 9 - Bird Neighbors - Part 10
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