Bird weekly #52: birds with long tail feathers
Wow, so Lisa has entrusted me as guest host for this week’s Bird Weekly Challenge! It’s an honour, but also a somewhat daunting task. Unlike Lisa I’m no expert bird-watcher; I just like seeing them and trying to photograph them. And while I like to know the name of a species, the main interest for me is the challenge of trying to photograph something so elusive, so constantly mobile, as many birds are.
The great thing is, I’m learning more through doing this challenge; partly because I get helpful comments from Lisa and others, and partly because it encourages me to do more research into the birds I photograph.
This week’s theme
The theme for this week is ‘birds with long tail feathers’. My research for this post taught me that tail feathers help to give the bird stability and control. While wing feathers provide lift, tails serve as a rudder, helping the bird to twist and turn as they fly. By twisting its tail, the bird can change its direction mid-flight.
They also act as a brake when landing. To help the bird slow down, the tail flares out downwards, creating more drag and decreasing the bird’s speed. And if it lands on a branch, the tail helps it to balance while perching.
But why have some birds evolved such long tail feathers? Like many evolutions, this is mainly due to the pressing need to find a mate and ensure the continuation of the species – to make baby birds! Long feathers look beautiful and attract attention. And those birds with the longest tails will have tended to be those most successful in procreating; so the ‘fashion’ for length and beauty in tails will over time have become stronger in certain species.
I’ve trawled through my own archives to find the following examples to share with you. Many of them were taken in Africa, in the Gambia or Senegal, but there are a few from elsewhere, including one very close to home.
And now for a few birds from other parts of the world
As there may be people reading this who don’t normally follow and participate in Lisa’s challenge, but who are now tempted to do so (please do!), I’m providing a summary of the ‘rules’ below:
Creating a Bird Weekly Post
- If possible, tell us the species of the bird(s) and/or where you were when you took the photo. If you don’t know the bird species, maybe one of the followers can help you out in their comments. We are all here to teach and learn as well!
- Then add a link to your blog in my comment box on this post. You might want to share them with Lisa too – I suggest in that case you link to her Bird Weekly birthday post
- To make it easy for others to check out your photos and post, title your blog post ‘Bird Weekly Challenge’ and/ or use the #birdweekly tag.
- Create a pingback by copying my URL from this post and link it inside your post.
Remember to follow Lisa’s blog to get weekly reminders of future challenges. And you can read more about the challenge on her dedicated Bird Weekly page. That page also has a list of upcoming themes.
Lisa will be back next week and hosting the week #53 challenge which will be birds beginning with ‘H’. If a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with an ‘H’, i.e. Hermit Thrush or Great Blue Heron.
Meanwhile I’m looking forward to seeing all your birds with long tails!
Wow! Great captures Sarah!
Thank you Anne 😊 If you had a go can you post your link here as pingbacks aren’t working on my site
Thank you – and thanks too for your contribution which I managed to find although the pingback didn’t work (https://mariawijk.wordpress.com/2021/06/26/long-tailed/)
Sarah, thank you for the challenge! Here’s my contribution https://wanderingdawgs.com/2021/06/21/birds-with-long-tail-feathers/
Thanks for joining in 🙂
You have a wonderful collection of bird photos, 🙂 here’s mine https://tblsite.me/2021/06/22/bird-weekly-52-birds-with-long-tail-feathers/
Thank you Lily 🙂
A great informative post Sarah. I guess pingbacks might need approval but not seen many in the comments as I scrolled down. Thought I’d add my link just in case if that’s OK
Thank you 🙂 For some reason the only pingbacks I can get to work on my posts are those from others of my own posts! I almost never see pingbacks and links – they don’t come up for approval, they don’t go into my spam – they just don’t work 🙁 I definitely have the setting to allow them correctly set so I’m stuck for ideas how to resolve the issue! Meanwhile, including a link in your comment is great – thanks!
I am glad I did the link Sarah. Sometimes WP has a mind of it’s own 🙂
I know, but I need to sort it if I’m to do more hosting in the future!
As always, just beautiful photo’s Sarah.
But I’ve learned something new today … how important birds’ tails are! While reading your post about the ‘work’ their tails do, I realise it’s actually a no brainer, but never thought about it and was like ‘oh wow, their tails are like a rudder’ – that’s quite amazing 😲.
Thank you so much 😊 I know Lisa usually packs her posts with info so I thought I had better include some interesting facts too!!
I. J. Khanewala
A great collection. That photo of the Caspian Tern is fabulous. (And you did come across that pesky bird in Ranthambhore).
Thank you – yes, we saw a few of those Rufus Treepies in Ranthambore 🙂
I added a rather long post that I don’t see. I hope it’s just waiting for approval because I don’t think I can reproduce it.
Yes, it needed approval because it was the first time you’ve commented on my blog I believe. I’ll have to look into why you didn’t get any notification about that. But you should be fine if you want to comment in the future. Thanks for stopping by and thank you for the follow 😊
Gorgeous birds! We have some long-tailed birds \by the beach, but I don’t have pictures of them. Most of them I saw back when we used to spend some weeks every year on Martha’s Vineyard and rented a little house on the cove across from Vineyard Haven. But I didn’t have a camera.
It was that odd interval at the end of film and the beginning of digital. My film camera was old, but digital was not yet reliable or high quality, so there were a few years during which I had some weird cameras that used floppy discs (remember them?). They hadn’t \invented SD cards. It was 2007 before I began to reinvest in cameras. I had some pictures that other people took — on film — but nothing of my own until I retired. That’s a long explanation for why I’ve seen the birds, but have no photographs.
Hi Marilyn and thanks for your comment 🙂 Yes, I remember floppy disks but I don’t think I ever had a camera that used them. I took a while to swap to a digital camera as I was very attached to my Minolta SLR at the time. For a while I had no interest in making the switch and was even a little snobbish about digital versus film. So although I have photos from that period, to use them in my blog I have to scan 35mm slides. It’s fiddly work and the results are less than impressive 🙁
The bee-eaters look like they have a lot of personality to go along with their colorful plumage and long tails. Love the simple elegance of the tern, Sarah.
Thank you Siobhan, I’m happy you like my bee eaters 😀
Sarah, You’ve got a wonderful collection of bird images. I have many in my archives but haven’t got time to sort them out (sigh). I agree that birds are challenging to photograph due to their constant mobility. Enjoy hosting 🙂
Thank you Natalie 😊 Yes, it’s a bit of a fiddle looking through for suitable photos but I quite like the way that it takes me down memory lane!
I have some photos Bob took of a wild turkey in our yard and I would think it had long tail feathers but they don’t look that long in the photo. Also of course the peacock we had in the yard for about a year. When he finally grew out his feathers he flew away I don’t know how to post the photos here
Hi Rosalie – you can’t share photos on someone else’s WordPress blog but you could share them with me on Facebook if you’d like me to see them 🙂
Fabulous shots Sarah. I particularly like the swallow-tailed bee eater, such striking colours. Michaela
Thank you Michaela 🙂 I do love Bee Eaters!!
Beautiful bird images! The long peacock tail is my favorite. Thanks for filling in for Lisa.
Thank you – it was a pleasure to cover for her, if slightly daunting!
Oh my goodness! I so love this post! You read my mind on what I was planning to write & why the tail feathers are used. I’m glad I didn’t lead you that way and allowed you the creativity to do what you wanted. I knew you would do a great job on hosting this for me! You went over and beyond my expectations. You have a lot of beautiful birds for this challenge. I’m becoming very much in love with those bee eaters myself seeing others post them in the different challenges. I hope to see them someday. Thank you again for doing this for me and I will not hesitate to ask again if I ever need it. I really appreciate it!
I’m doing good. A little out of it from time to time. Surgery went well and the tendon was torn in the direction the tendon runs so they were able to repair it and not replace it. YAY! I’m in between pain killers right now and will do my post in a day or two when I’m not in so much pain. I’m getting the roundup ready for last week.
Phew, I’m so glad you’re happy with this Lisa 😌 I was actually surprised at how many long-tailed birds I could find in my archives! I do hope you get to see some Bee Eaters one day.
And it’s great to hear the surgery went well and that the tear wasn’t as bad as it might have been. Hope you feel much better soon. 😘
It was great! Are you approving the pingbacks? I’m not seeing much on the post itself. Today, I’m trying to catch up on some of comments. I think there might be some that was pinged to the round up. I’ll get to those eventually. Not sure how long I’m going to be up. I still get tired fairly quickly. 🙂
Annoyingly I’m not getting any pingbacks – not to approve, not in my spam, nowhere 😠 I’m trying to catch posts by searching for the tag but if people haven’t used it, and haven’t commented here with a link, I’m stuck! I seem to have some sort of issue with pingbacks generally – for some reason the only ones I see to approve are the ones from my own posts, everything else just disappears. I’ve been searching online for solutions but not found anything helpful.
I will search and hopefully find them. I’ll visit all the regulars and search their sites too. I haven’t felt good enough to do that. I’m allowing myself a few more days and then start putting the round up together. Even if it takes a few days. I did finally write my post today. 😊
Thanks for putting in the effort to find them, especially when you’re still not feeling too great. I’ve been in touch with my hosting service trying to resolve the issue. Yesterday I thought they’d fixed it, as I got a pingback, but today I’m not so sure as one failed to materialise 🙁
Terri Webster Schrandt
Gorgeous images of birds, Sarah! I wish I had any to share this time. Thank you for taking Lisa’s bird weekly challenge, I know she really appreciates it!
Thanks Terri 🙂 I’m going to be getting a bit more involved in challenge hosting soon (watch this space!) so this was good practice for me. I just wish I knew half as much about birds as Lisa does!
Terri Webster Schrandt
That sounds intriguing, Sarah! I’m right there with you on birding.
Great – it was intended to intrigue 😆
Oh, the Places We See
You’ve done quite well with all those names! And how clever to include the peacock — perfect!
Thank you 🙂 I was looking for an old photo I remember taking with a full peacock tail but couldn’t find it, and then I remembered this close-up I took more recently!
Oh, the Places We See
It’s a keeper!