Thursday, June 22, 2006

Great Browntailed UPS Bird

One of the most easily identified birds we see at the Falls of the Ohio, near Louisville, KY, is the Great Browntailed UPS bird. This large bird has a very loud, distinctive call as it flies overhead. Although these birds have a roosting area across the river near the Louisville Airport, as far as anyone can determine, they spend most of their time migrating. No one has ever been able to determine their breeding territory or mating behavior. Ornithologists believe that the males and females must be the same size and color, although they do not know for sure. Breed they must, though, since we often see their young, who are entirely brown in color. The silver coloring of the adult must come at some later stage of life. Again, no one has ever seen them as nestlings, nor learning to fly. These young are completely ground-bound. The young come in several different sizes however, and scientists speculate that as they grow they metamorphose. The young may really be a larval stage of development and the great silver bird the adult, like a butterfly. Therefore, some believe that this is not a bird at all, but some kind of giant insect-like creature.

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