∞ generated and posted on 2016.11.07 ∞

Members of class Aves.

Birds are tetrapods and winged descendants of theropod dinosaurs, a group that also includes the infamous velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus rex. Birds share with at least some of those dinosaurs the otherwise unique body coverings we call feathers.

Chicken on the Beach

Figure legend: Inky the travel chicken (a silkie hen) sees the Pacific Ocean for the first time (as too does my daughter), 2011. Photo credit go to Talia Abedon.

Because birds are adapted to flying, they display numerous adaptations that result in their light weight. These include hollow bones and the loss of various features such as teeth.

Seagulls in a Stream

Figure legend: Gulls bathing in a stream just short of the Pacific Ocean, somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway, north of Los Angelos and south of San Francisco. Photo credit go to Talia Abedon.

Birds, like mammals, are also endothermic and possess four-chambered hearts. Birds, like higher primates, are also highly visually oriented, as befits an animal that must possess superlative obstacle avoidance abilities!

Duckling in a Tub

Figure legend: A few days old duckling taking a swim in a plastic food container. Photo courtesy of Talia Abedon.

We actually share a number of characteristics with birds that stem to a large degree from a dominance among our special senses of the sense of sight and a related need to quickly navigate complex, especially arboreal three-dimensional environments.

The following video provides a nice introduction to birds, their evolution, and their functioning: