A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume II: In the Wild and at Your by Donald W. Stokes, Lillian Q. Stokes

By Donald W. Stokes, Lillian Q. Stokes

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Additional info for A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume II: In the Wild and at Your Feeder (Stokes Nature Guides)

Example text

But the syrinx is a far more elaborate sound­ generating mechanism. It is highly efficient, creating sound from nearly all the air that passes through it. The human larynx, by comparison, uses only about 2 percent of exhaled air. Because the syrinx strdddles two sepa­ rate tracheal tubes, each equipped with separate sound-producing membranes and neural connections, birds are capa­ ble of producing two separate sounds at once-as evidenced by the eerie "duet­ ting" songs of thrushes. Songbirds can even sing out of one side of their syrinx while sneaking small, quick breaths through the other during song pauses.

All DNA strands are made up of only four kinds of nu­ cleotides, each with a unique base: adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T), and cytosine (C). The order in which these appear on the strands differs among species. The two strands are linked by hydrogen bonds between As and Ts and between Gs and Cs. In any individual of a given species, the DNA strands are strongly bonded to one another because all the nucleotide bases in each strand "line up" with their complementary base on the other strand, and all bond so that the two strands form a double helix.

Thought to be males) sported elongated tail feathers rather like those of a Scissor­ tailed Flycatcher (fyrannus forficatus). Gerhard Heilman rejected this idea, rea­ soning that birds must have originated separately from a predinosaur reptilian ancestor on the basis that bird-like dinosaurs lacked a furcula (the fused collarbones, or "wishbone"). In 1 973, Yale paleontologist John Os­ trom again proposed a bird-dinosaur link and suggested that birds were descended from small bipedal dinosaurs of the thero­ pod group called coelurosaurs.

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