Have you ever wondered if humans and birds are similar? Have you ever noticed that we walk on two legs, just like birds, something most mammals don’t do! We are also mainly diurnal ( fancy word that I learnt today) and rely on sight as a primary sense. I read this article “Fairy creatures” on the April 5th-11th 2014 issue of ‘The Economist’ (I don’t read the magazine, my father does 🙂 ) about this new book by Noah Strycker about how birds and humans are similar.
Reading through the article, I realised just how much we do have in common. There are of course, particular species that share particular habits that we have.
Did you know that the hummingbird, (whose heart is the size of the pea, by the way) has the largest heart of any bird when compared in proportion to its body mass. Even though the hummingbird is way smaller than us and is different in most of the possible ways, it is similar in that it has a lifespan of a billion heartbeats, which most warm-blooded mammals have.
Black-chinned Hummingbird Source:Wikipedia
In today’s world the pace of everything is increasing at an alarming rate. So much that people take an average of 10.5 seconds to walk 60 feet of pavement in Singapore, compared to say 31 seconds in a country like Malawi. This is common in “big cities”, the article states. Noah, the author of the book, ‘The thing with Feathers‘ says humans are “slaves to speed, desperately fighting for control of calories”, similar to the hummingbirds who are usually always on the search for high-calorie foods.
The beautiful fairy wren is very altruistic as they lend helping assistance to other nestlings. They are also very intelligent when it comes to cuckoo’s that lay their eggs in its nest. It teaches a secret ‘password’ or call to the eggs before they hatch. The embryonic chicks learn this call and make it their breeding calls as well, which makes it differ from a parasitic cuckoo’s call. Pretty smart stuff, I must say!
I thought of some of my own examples.. How about hornbills? Just like humans- they have the idea of “commitment” as they are loyal and loving to their life partners.
All birds are ever patient and loving to their chicks. After watching the sunbirds nesting habits, I just admired the patience of the parents from building the nest, feeding the ever hungry chicks, removing and cleaning their poop, and incubating the eggs. That made me think of the struggles my mother probably went through to take care of my sister and me!
So, are we really similar? I think we are in many ways and it makes me think of my life and habits in a new light.
The Economist- April 5th-11th issue
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