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Friday, October 26, 2012

Curious Kiwi

Why has the kiwi survived while its relatives the moas have become extinct?One reason,I think is that it has adopted nocturnal habits.Kiwis are not normally about in the day-time.During the daylight hours they lie up in hiding,where enemies have no rope of finding them.Their coloration protects them;the strange drab feathering,so unlike that of most birds,gives them a cloak of invisibility while they sleep.And when night falls,out they come to scratch in the ground and find worms and grubs and feed to their hearts content.They couldn't do that so effectively if they didn't have another peculiarity that i have no mentioned yet.The nostrils of the most birds open high up near the base of beak,but the kiwi wears  his nostrils right near the tip of the long,probe-like bill.That's good for a bird that feeds in the ground at night.The kiwi's sight is poor at the best of times,but his sense of smell is acute,and so is the sense of touch in the tip of that long bill.He can scratch in the forest floor with his eyes closed,and the delicate sense located at the beak-tip will feel that slightest movement of a worm or grub.Most of those things have an odour of something worthwhile in the way of food,the delicate bill is ready to pick it up and swallow it...

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