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September 9, 2009 / stephanie

The Wisconsin Idea

I wanted to post a link to an article from the UW Madison “Wisconsin Idea” website, http://wisconsinidea.wisc.edu/profiles/McDonald/

It’s a profile on my bird banding mentor, Mara McDonald, and about the work we do at Biocore Prairie. It’s a lovely article!
I have to make a correction though, the author (not a science guy I presume) writes that we measure the femur of the birds, but it should say tarsus. Time to study up on your bird anatomy…

The tarsus (same as tarsometatarsus) is the foot bone, but many people call it the bird’s “leg,” since it is the most visible part of the bird leg. As you can see though, birds walk on their toes rather than their feet, just like cats and dogs. The femur and often the fibula & tibiotarsus disappear within all those feathers. So if you ever say someone has “chicken legs” you’re probably comparing the person’s legs to a bird’s skinny feet. But if you ever eat a chicken leg, you’re most likely eating the meaty area that makes up the thigh of the bird.

That’s all for now for the anatomy lesson, I’ll be back later so I can post some pictures from my most recent excursion to a Raptor Banding Class.

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2 Comments

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  1. Shady Character / Sep 11 2009 12:02 pm

    Cool article. I've always wanted to see bird banding being done. Can just anyone visit?

  2. Stephanie / Sep 11 2009 1:02 pm

    Yeah! Anyone can stop by the banding station either just to view the banding or to help out. To be added to the bird banding email list, send a note to Mara, mamcdona AT wisc.edu and she will update you when we go out. Typically we meet Saturday mornings after 7am.

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