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Name: Ann D.
Status: stdent
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Saturday, August 31, 2002



Question:
I once heard on a television program that geese are not biologically able to release droppings while in flight and they must land in order to do that and that is why they are so messy in parks and stuff. Is this true? I have looked through several ornithology books and checked several web sites, but nothing seems to make any reference to this.


Replies:
Ann,

Birds generally release their droppings while swimming or perched on the ground or in a tree, etc. and not in flight. Muscles used in flying, especially the muscles that control the tail feathers used in balance and direction control, apparently inhibit the elimination process. Many birds eliminate just as they take to flight and, I believe, this is a response to the force of the contriction of some of the muscles used in flying.

There are exceptions I understand. The species in the albatross family with huge wing span ratios that glide a great deal over extreme periods of time seem to be one. There may be others, I'm sure, and most likely they will be those birds that glide [with little muscle effort] rather than require a continual powered flying effort such as the geese must perform in order to stay airborne.

Steve Sample


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