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View Diary: Dawn Chorus: Incredible Evolving Birds (92 comments)

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  •  Terrific diary, mm. Very clearly explained, (10+ / 0-)

    even the math. I didn't know about that research by the Grants. Beak specialization is fascinating. Being their arms and hands as well as mouth, beaks are pretty critical. I've always been intrigued by crossbills especially, among the seedeaters. Partly it's just their gorgeous colors, both the males and females, not a solid color but a melding of shades, giving that mosaic look. Around here it's Red Crossbills.

    But the beak itself seems so unlikely. I know it's an adaptation for opening conifer scales (around here that would be Douglas fir for the most part) but even after they get the seed out, how it works to break open the seed itself effectively. Based on what I've seen of them at my feeder, they are extremely good at it, and don't drop seeds the way a lot of the other birds do (siskins are especially sloppy). Remarkable skill.

    Thanks for the diary!

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