I’m now leaving, again, this time for SVPCA. I’m hoping that I might be able to do some blogging from the conference, but the last time I said this (the Munich Flugsaurier conference back in September 2007) there was neither the time nor opportunity for it, so don’t get your hopes up. Thanks to SVPCA and other matters, I’ve obviously been unable to put anything substantial on the blog for a while now… making Tet Zoo all too much like a normal blog… and for personal (family-related) reasons, it’s been a strange and sad week here. We’re all in need of time off that we can’t afford to take. Apologies to those awaiting email responses, please hang in there.
Anyway: what’s with the pictures I hear you ask? My original intention for SVPCA was to discuss the functional morphology and feeding behaviour of waterbirds but, for various reasons, that hasn’t panned out and instead I’m going to be discussing the azhdarchid research that Mark and I published recently (Witton & Naish 2008). It has, however, given me an opportunity to throw together various thoughts on waterbird anatomy and behaviour, all of which will be covered here at Tet Zoo in due time. You might, or might not, be staggered to know how little work has been done on such things as heron morphology and function. Personally I love the fact that herons can catch and eat snakes, rodents, moles, ducklings, doves and bunnies as shown here: these images come from a sequence where a Grey heron Ardea cinerea caught, drowned, and swallowed a rabbit. I thought these images so cool I showed them to Will, but he didn’t share my enthusiasm (he’s 6).
The photos aren’t new: they first appeared online in 2006 and were taken in June 2006, in The Netherlands, by photographer Ad Sprang. The heron caught the rabbit by the ear and flew off with it, with the rabbit shrieking and wriggling all the while. The rabbit was then drowned and swallowed whole.
Thanks to those who have provided support, see you on the other side.
Ref – -
Witton, M. P. & Naish, D. 2008. A reappraisal of azhdarchid pterosaur functional morphology and paleoecology. PLoS ONE 3 (5): e2271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002271