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1068Re: [wsbn] More Tales of the Tailless

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  • larry arnold
    Oct 2, 2006
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      Currently in our yard...  one tailless scrub-jay and one tailless black-chinned hummingbird, both entertaining to watch.  hmmm...  what the heck are birds' tails for?  help with birders' IDs?  easy plucking by predators?  control of guidance and maneuverability?  both birds seem to navigate just fine without their tails, so why should they expend energy to grow 'em?   tisk tisk
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 8:41 AM
      Subject: Re: [wsbn] Tailless nighthawk

      I also saw a tailless common nighthawk last night. I was at the Clifton sewage
      treatment ponds off of 30 road at about 7 pm. The bird was getting on just fine
      inspite of being tailless. In addition to that completely tailless bird there
      was one bird with only one tail feather. This is the first year that I have
      noticed this but I honestly have not paid much attention to nighthawks until the
      news of Lesser Nighthawks in Nucla. Sunday before last I saw a tailless common
      nighthawk at the Nucla Town Res. with Coen Dexter. The speculation was that it
      was predator damage and not molt, now I am less certain. Does anyone know any
      details of nightjar molt patterns? Anyone have access to NA Birds online?

      P.S. Coen; I have been scanning nighthawk flocks on about five evenings here in
      the Grand Valley and have not seen any that appear to be Lessers'

      >>> "M G EHLERT" <graciegj@msn. com> 09/18/06 9:48 PM >>>
      Yesterday evening I was at Connected Lakes, overlooking the river, and observed
      a nighthawk with no tail feathers at all. It was very interesting to watch this
      bird maneuver through the air without any "apparent" loss of it's ability to
      quickly change direction and altitude. Over the approximately 45 minutes that I
      sat by the river (watching an absolutely beautiful western CO sunset!) I
      watched this bird pass by and over me several times and, other than it's very
      odd appearance, it behaved quite normally. I'm curious if anyone else has
      observed this bird.

      Gracie Ehlert
      Grand Jct

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