Friday, March 3, 2017

Tufted Titmouse

This photo is one of the strangest I have ever taken. The bird is a Tufted Titmouse. It flew to a Rice County bird feeder on 1 March. The titmouse grabbed a sunflower seed and flew away. Never have I seen a bird look so much like a four-legged creature.

The secondary wing feathers sweep in side view along the bird’s flanks. These feathers are attached along the ulna of the forearm. (The humerus is hidden beneath the body feathers; the radius lies along side the ulna.) Beyond the ulna lies the carpometacarpal bone—fused and elongated carpals and metacarpals homologous to the bones in our wrists and palms. The primaries are attached here and to the remnants of two of the bird’s three fingers. The primaries are being forced downward to generate upward thrust as the bird fled the feeder. I have never seen such a gap between primaries and secondaries.

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