52 Weeks of Patricia's Life

Patricia's Photo Project


Week 31. 48. Three of a Kind

Judging by an article I read,  this “trio” must be Black Vultures … the more attractive of the two varieties in Florida … the Turkey Vultures having featherless heads and necks with pink skin!

There were dozens of these vultures at the Hardee County Wildlife Refuge … just visiting I was told as they passed through – stopping for a quick snack of left over vegetables and fruits from the other animals there.  The lady at the desk said they don’t normally have that many around.

Black vultures are monogamous and stick close to their mates all year round, for many years. They don’t build nests, but lay their eggs directly on the ground. However, they choose their nesting sites carefully, preferring areas such as caves, hollow trees, thickets or even abandoned buildings.

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Week 30. 47. The Eye

So many interesting things to learn about the Ostrich but I am sticking to information about the eye. Wish I’d caught this boy/girl full frontal (!)  – they really look rather sweet and comical.  (don’t think they are though).  This Ostrich was a rescue and currently at Hardee County Wildlife Refuge in Zolfo Springs, Florida.

So – some little facts…

  • As the largest bird in the world, they have the largest eyes of any bird in the world.
  • In fact, this is not the only impressive statistic about an ostrich’s eyes. At 2in (5cm) in diameter, measured front to back, from the center of the cornea to the retina, they are five times bigger than the human eye and bigger than that of any land animal.
  •  Furthermore, comparing the largest to smallest in the bird world, the eye of the ostrich is about as big as the whole body of the smallest bird in the world – the bee hummingbird.

The flightless bird is famed for its running prowess, reaching speeds of 45mph (70kph) when pressed, which is fast enough to escape most predators. Those big, long powerful legs were born to run. But it has to see what to run from first. Standing up to 9ft (2.75cm) tall, it enjoys an excellent view over the grassland and bush. Meanwhile, the high number of photoreceptor cells in the eye, combined with the sheer size of the image from the lens, means the ostrich can see in phenomenal detail. Indeed it’s eye is at the size limit of usefulness, any larger and destruction would begin to distort the image.