May 11, 2001: Happy Birthday YET AGAIN!
eggs have hatched! Compare Julie's robin babies to some baby
hummingbirds Why do you think robins lay at least twice as many eggs
as hummingbirds? Think about their weights:
percentage of a mother robin's body weight is her brood of newly-hatched
babies? What percentage of a mother hummingbird's body weight is her brood?
Do you think this may be related to the reason that robins lay four or
five eggs while hummers lay two?
Q. What is a reason why most birds don't grow feathers over their whole bodies but only in tracts?
Except for a very few birds like penguins, who swim in VERY cold water, most birds don't need to grow feathers over their whole bodies. One individual feather is a lot wider than one hair, and can cover a bigger space on a bird's body than one individual hair can cover on a mammal's body. But feathers take a lot of energy to produce. To save energy, birds produce just enough outer feathers to completely cover their bodies when the feathers are groomed properly. These robins will each have about 2200 to 2600 feathers when full grown, and add more in the fall for winter insulation.
See the next Robin Nest Photo Lesson and discussion of today's questions.