Written By: Sarah Girton
To kick off the launch of our store blog, why not delve into the heart of it all? The reason we are all here, the reason we feed birds, is because we love them! In fact, throughout human history, birds have fascinated and inspired us. From antiquity to the present day, we have interwoven our avian friends into our culture, art, even technology! For the next few weeks we will be exploring a variety of reasons that we are so drawn to birds and how they’ve affected our daily lives. A few things we will be covering include bird beauty, intelligence, the science of bird flight and its influence on human air travel, and even bird humor (you can’t deny that birds have the tendency to quite funny)!
Week One: Beauty
Some might say that birds are the artists of the animal kingdom. How you dress, the nest you build, or the quality of your singing voice can be the difference between finding a date and ending up alone! How’s that for pressure? With many bird species, the more vivid your colors or the more beautiful your song, the more likely you are to find a mate. Take the Lance-tailed Manakin for example; This is a bird who trains for years under an alpha before entering the dating scene. He uses his bright colors and learned dance skills to compete for a female. Bowerbirds build elaborate courtship arenas. And the Wood Thrush, otherwise a rather plain bird visually, has one of the most beautiful songs in the avian kingdom.
Week Two: Intelligence
Birds are no strangers to problem solving, memory, and cleverness. Two of the most intelligent bird families are the Corvids (crows, jays, magpies, etc) and the Psittacines (parrots). Decades of human observation and scientific study have yielded some truly amazing things. In the documentary “Beak and Brain”, the Kea and the Caledonia Crow are put to the test, solving all manner of complex puzzles, usually to acquire a tasty snack. I think we can all agree that food is an excellent motivator!
Week Three: Flight
Unquestionably, the most incredible thing about birds is their ability to fly. And birds make it look so easy! But it took a lot of evolutionary adaptation to achieve this. The earliest known bird was Archaeopteryx, an avian dinosaur from the late Jurassic period. Over millions of years, bird morphology has changed, allowing for more energy-efficient flight. Bird flight has also had a massive influence on our own ability to take to the skies. From Leonardo DaVinci’s ornithopters, to the Wright Brothers’ Wright Flyer, to the F-22 Raptor, humankind has always had a desire to not only achieve flight, but to conquer it.
Week Four: Amusement
It’s undeniable: Birds are FUNNY! There are entire YouTube channels dedicated to funny bird antics. Any parrot owner can attest to their clownish behavior. And have you ever witnessed the flamboyant mating rituals of the birds of paradise? Just take a look at this clip from BBC’s Planet Earth:
So stay with us over the next few weeks as we explore all there is to love about that wonderfully wonderful creature — the bird!