[CT Birds] beak size & mating

Gary Witte wirthwitte at att.net
Thu Feb 14 10:46:16 EST 2013


Be sure to click on the link at the bottom of the Yahoo news article, to a 
Smithsonian study that says birds grow bigger beaks in the summer or in hot 
climates to dissipate heat, and thus reduce water need, and they get smaller in 
the winter to conserve heat. Females go through the same cycle, but to a lesser 
extent. (It says they can do this because beaks are like fingernails). The 
mating attractiveness is probably a secondary effect, not the "reason" for the 
bigger beaks.  For instance, the researcher says the birds which have the 
water-conserving/  heat-dissipating advantage might be more active for an hour a 
day. Here is the URL: 
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/science_article/default.cfm?id=143
-Winie Wirth, Milford


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