Ornithology is the study of birds. This is a fascinating, even addictive field of interest to both professionals and amateurs world wide.
People who take up ornithology may be discovering a hobby for life; or perhaps taking the first step toward a career in either the wildlife or pet industry. At the extreme, ornithological scientists are employed in universities, research institutions and zoos around the world, undertaking very complex and sophisticated studies into bird biology.
Birds have the best vision of all animals. They have large eyes, sometimes weighing more than their brain, with limited mobility. In owls, the eyes are fixed; they are set in the skull in a way that does not allow movement very well. Increased head movement compensates for fixed eyes. The degree of neck movement in some owls is 270 degrees. Predatory species have binocular vision, and most other birds have partial binocular vision. Their colour perception is excellent. Their hearing is acute, especially in nocturnal birds.
Except in flightless birds, ducks, and vultures, the senses of smell and taste are poorly developed in birds. But this is compensated by good hearing and superb vision. The bird ear far surpasses the human capacity to distinguish differences in intensities and to respond to rapid fluctuations in pitch.
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