Saturday, November 4, 2017

Warbler Guy, I wonder what the "alula" feathers are on a bird? Do warblers have alula feathers? What function do alula feathers do?

Sherry (in Helena, MT):

Great question (but NOT always one I receive....).

Here's a photo (BELOw) of a bird — a Common Pigeon — that highlights its alula feathers and notes their function: (Wood-warbler family members ALSO possess alula feathers, but they are more challenging to see....and best seen via museum specimens and/or in the hand when banding birds at a mist net station.)

Three to five feathers in wrist of the wing that are used in slow flight or landing, much as slots on an airplane.

As for the source of this photo, I thank Vireo and R. Curtis....and feel free to see more bird terms and vocabulary at:

Enjoy the birds and don't forget to lean over and fall back tonight one hour: Daylight savings ends, I'm sorry to say....Imminently, there's one fewer hour of birding to do in the afternoon (!) 

Daniel, with 
(hosts my "Birding Tours" information for the northern and central CA area....including the SF Bay Area birding tours I regularly lead....including today, when I'll bring my "Raptors of the San Francisco Bay Area" Merritt College class to Hawk Hill in Sausalito (Golden Gate Raptor Observatory) ).

Rock Pigeon      Columba livia

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