What’s a Beak Made Of?

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Bird beaks, or payments, are available in many sizes and shapes. And birds use them for almost every thing: to gather meals, preen, struggle, courtroom (as this pair of Laysan Albatrosses is doing), chop holes in timber, weave nests, and extra. To ensure that a chicken to fly, its beak should weigh as little as doable. Beaks are lined with a sheath of a tricky materials known as keratin, which grows repeatedly as a result of a beak wears down with use.

BirdNote®

What’s a Beak Made Of?

Written by Bob Sundstrom

[clattering of Laysan Albatrosses – https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/5009]
That is BirdNote.
Bird beaks, or payments, are available in many sizes and shapes. And birds use them for almost every thing: to gather meals, preen, struggle, courtroom, chop holes in timber, weave nests, and extra.
[Hairy Woodpecker drumming – https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/63109]
However to ensure that a chicken to fly, its beak should weigh as little as doable. So beaks have advanced to be ultralight, like birds’ hole bones and feathers.
Simply what is that this versatile appendage manufactured from?
At its core, each higher and decrease halves of a beak comprise mild bony projections that reach from the cranium. These bony elements are lined with a sheath of a tricky materials known as keratin (pronounced CARE-uh-tun). It’s the identical stuff that makes up tortoise shells, the scales and claws of reptiles, and our personal hair and fingernails. The keratin sheath makes the beak robust, sturdy, and glossy. The sheath grows repeatedly, as a result of a beak wears down with use.
[Black Oystercatcher- https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/137860]
Image a shorebird, like this Black Oystercatcher, flipping rocks and hammering shells all day.
Historical birds had been weighed down with jaws and tooth, making flight far more difficult. However the beak of a contemporary chicken, whether or not it belongs to an eagle, toucan, or hummingbird, is a marvel match for all times on the wing.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

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Bird sounds offered by The Macaulay Library of Pure Sounds on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by: 5009 Laysan Albatross, D Pratt; 63109 Furry Woodpecker, D Herr; 137860 Black Oystercatcher, G Vyn.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and performed by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Affiliate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2018 Tune In to Nature.org   Could/June 2018/2022   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# bill-05-2018-06-08    bill-05

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