Beaks & Bills

Beaks & Bills | Seattle, WA | October 2019

The bird mouths in this photo don’t belong to finches, but Charles Darwin’s principle of natural selection still applies. “Darwin wondered about the changes in the shape of bird beaks from [Galapagos] island to island,” writes William J. Cromie in The Harvard Gazette. “So-called cactus finches boast longer, more pointed beaks than their relatives the ground finches. Beaks of warbler finches are thinner and more pointed than both. These adaptations make them more fit to survive on available food.” That explains my friend’s wide maw — best adapted to chomp burgers than sip soup.

[In photo: Aquatic bird specimens on display at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle.]