The Unfeathered Bird / by Chris Maynard

 Katrina von Grouw.

Katrina von Grouw.

The defining characteristic of birds is their feathers. I like to learn everything I can about them. But now I am reading and looking at the drawings in “The Unfeathered Bird” by Katrina van Gruow. The author shows everything about the physical structures of birds—without feathers. So reading it, I take the opportunity during these dark winter days to explore underneath feathers. Delving through this book, I am discovering how birds have many little ways to help their bodies fly. Looking at it this way, feathers are one of a thousand flight adjustments birds have made like:

● hollow bones ● beaks which eliminate heavy teeth ● double-capacity lungs ● muscles to pull wings up and muscles to pull them down ● a wishbone and a breastbone to support huge flight muscles   ●  a rigid body compensated by a long and flexible neck ● huge eyes which see differently than ours.