Thursday, November 08 2007 @ 02:08 PM EST
Contributed by: richardpitt
HANCOCK FORUM NEWSLETTERIssue No 5 ~ November 07 , 2007Editors: Cobbler39/Blue Heaven__________
... FEATURE STORY DO EAGLES HAVE TONSILS? .....AND OTHER QUESTIONS
You may remember Wendy asking several times, "Do eagles have tonsils?" (She knew the answer.)
are organs of the lymphatic system and act as part of the immune system
to help protect against infection. Our tonsils can be seen on either
side of the throat when we open wide and say "Ahhh" ~
like Skye did on June 10th ...
The eagles 'opened wide' numerous times this past season but we couldn't see if they had tonsils there!Mom, April 28, 2007....... Baby Skye in May ....... Skye, June 10,2007
We asked our resource people; AJL
, whose expertise and helpfulness is well-known on the forum, and Carla Lenihan
Wildlife Biologist and Executive Director at Hancock Wildlife
Foundation. They replied that eagles do not have tonsils in the same
way that we, or other mammals do, in our throats. Tonsils are basically
lymphatic tissue and because the eagle eats carrion, its digestive
tract is lined with plenty of lymphatic tissue to prevent infection.
We sent the question to David Hancock who forwarded it to Dr. David M. Bird
at McGill University. Dr. Bird wrote back that, while birds do not have
tonsils like we do, they do have cecal tonsils which are found in their
ceca which are dead-ending structures coming off the small intestine at
the junction of the large intestine. They produce antibodies and play
some sort of sentinel role for the lymphoid system.
So..... do eagles have tonsils?Eagle feet, eagle claws, or eagle talons?
eagle's feet are very unique. We watched with amusement when Skye
stretched a foot that seemed too big for her in front of the close-up
camera; we saw Mom's huge feet and talons leave the nest above the
tiny, bobbing head of the eaglet; and we saw Skye's talons develop into
the powerful weapons they would one day become.
also have feet with claws, including tiny birds. But the eagle's claws
are extremely strong and sharp because birds of prey also use their
feet for killing. They need those two-inch long razor sharp claws to
grasp a slippery strong fish with scales.
Many other animals
have sharp claws, so why do we call the eagle's claws talons? The
difference is that an eagle's feet are designed to carry things. The
foot has four toes, strong enough to hold up to four pounds when flying
through the air. Three toes point forward and one backwards. The
bottoms of their feet are covered with rough, scaly knobs called
"spicules" that give them a better grip. The powerful muscles and
tendons hold the feet firmly shut when carrying heavy prey or perching
on a branch.
It is amazing that the eagle can control those
enormous and lethal feet when landing on the nest, when delicately
straddling incubating eggs, and so carefully avoiding stepping on a