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.
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!