Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Headbanger's Theme--Feathers

from Wikipedia
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector. The two ailerons are typically interconnected so that one goes down when the other goes up: the down-going aileron increases the lift on its wing while the up-going aileron reduces the lift on its wing, producing a rolling moment about the aircraft's longitudinal axis. Ailerons are usually situated near the wing tip, but may sometimes be situated nearer the wing root. The terms "outboard aileron" and "inboard aileron" are used to describe these positions respectively. The word aileron is French for "little wing".

So why do I introduce my headbangers presentation for the theme of "feathers" which Gail has given us this week? The other day on a science program on the radio they were discussing the function and history of  feathers, and particularly wing feathers. And wing feathers serve individually as ailerons on a wing which also serves as an aileron. The bird has muscle control of each feather, able to turn each one as needed to sustain flight.

shed wing feather
Feathers serve another purpose, according to the presentation. Why are male birds so showy while the females of the species are generally pretty drab? Well, the females are pretty picky about choosing a mate, so the males have to show off by extravagant displays of color. The peacock is a prime example. These feathers certainly are not practical in providing an assist to flight. They only serve the purpose of attracting that lady.  What a show-off!

"Look sweetie! Over here! Aren't I beautiful?"
But why can't the girls be gorgeous as well? Sheer practicality! While the males are off strutting their stuff, the female is generally left to sit on the nest and keep those babies warm. Their feather coat is designed to blend in to the environment where they are nesting so that they don't attract predators.

(My British friends please forgive me as I can't help thinking of the American Revolution where the local militia wore drab homespun garments whild the British soldiers made targets of themselves in bright red uniform coats.)

So once again I have to make a choice for my header: Will it be the the practical?
or the showy?
This week marks Gail's swan song with the Headbangers as she leaves us because of time constraints from other activities.
mute swans
That leaves an opening for another budding photographer to join us. Headbangers are linked on my sidebar. Visit them this week to see what they did with last week's Through a Window, and starting Wednesday, "Feathers!" Contact one of us if you would like to play along.


Christopher Frost said...

That's an interesting dilemma you've got there Kathy.

You should really go for the photo that you like the most. Using your gut instinct.

I know which of the two that I would post. I've put my header up already, and of course I've gone for something a little different.

imac said...

Education as well as Fun in the Headers Competition>

Nice choice Kathy, I would have gone with the Peacock myself, so I like your take.

Julie said...

I love your header Kathy, the peacock feathers are beautifully arranged. They are such an exotic bird and seem quite happy to live wild in some areas of the UK where they have been kept as pets and then breed out into the surrounding area.

I have another use for feathers ...printing and painting!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Kathy: It seems like peacocks have the most posts when you say feathers. Love your choice of header pick.

Gail Spalding-Frost said...

Beautiful peacock feathers Kathy! I would love a Quill made out of one of these.....
Strange how the female birds are very bland and yet the males very striking! Pity human males cant take a leaf out of the peaccocks book! But then again, can you imagine them strutting there stuff! ;-) LOL