How Did They Get Here?

The late Sir Terry Pratchett wrote a bit about how certain animals got from one continent to another. For instance, he proposes that on the Disc World, camels got to Four Ex by hanging on to logs and floating there. That is one of those jokes that smart people who study animal evolution, mutation, and migration love.

In my usual serious method, I am curious about how parrots got where they are. Not so much the feral or naturalized birds that escaped some how and are thriving in the urban settings of the world. Just the regular cockatoos, macaws, and conures, to name a few.

031016 flying dino

Science Daily shared a possible answer that migratory birds got to the tropics and liked it too much to keep taveling. We see that in California, where mallards and other water birds stay pretty much year round. Of course, they are still trying to solve the whole migration issue, why it started and like that.

Back in the day when dinosaurs were in charge, some change happened that wiped out the big lizards, but birds survived. No clue as to their developing flight by gliding down from the trees, or being able to lift off from the ground. But there they were.

031016 poof bird
Poof! I’m a bird!

I’ve always believed that the creatures who ended up in Australia kind of were stuck there and couldn’t move out of that neighborhood. But author Tim Low writes that the birds Down Under spread across the globe and changed songbirds and parrots.

031016 mama bird

I also thought I would find lots of nice graphs showing the spread of birds to various places and then settling in. That’s not what I found. I found a lot of, “Well, they were already here when we showed up.” To my mind, not having read Mr. Low’s book, the reptiles were everywhere and then they spontaneously burst out in feathers. And they were able to survive the extinction event, believed to be a meteor in most scientific circles, through the gift of flight.

031016 family photo
Family photo

Without being able to answer my question here, I have at least discovered a great book I need to buy and read, and some clues that most birds were where they needed to be at the right time. So I will close with this link to the 10 coolest parrots in the world, and wish you a great week.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.


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