Tag Archives: Jerseydays

Killer Legs (of Secretary Birds)

Along with getting to see the La Brea Tar Pits, seeing these gorgeous birds at the San Diego Zoo became one of the highlights of my visit to California. I’d never seen one in real life before.

If pressed on what one looked like, my mental image would actually be the secretary bird that officiates in the Disney Movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Not the most flattering portrayal to have stuck in one’s head!

So I wasn’t expecting something so elegant or graceful. (Or with a whimsical looking crown of feathers that reminded me of Fawkes the phoenix in the Harry Potter movies!)

I didn’t stop to think that it clearly had the beak of a bird of prey. It’s a terrestrial predator. Those elegant long legs are weapons for stalking through the grasses and for killing prey. They can’t hold their prey with those deadly toes though, so they have to eat it there or carry it in their beak.

None of my photos really turned out so I wasn’t sure I was going to mention them on here, but then Jelka, a doll maker on deviantart, posted a gorgeous posable soft sculpture Secretary bird the other day, and I had to share it. She makes the dolls by hand and her sister does the painting, it’s a great collaboration! If you want a better look you can get the full 360 view on youtube.


Filed under Crafts, Natural Science