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My birthday skull


Today is my tenth birthday ! I have a busy day planned and I am going to the cinema and my uncle and aunt have come over to stay as well. I even have a special birthday skull which I am going to write about today.

A few days ago the postman came with a parcel for me. It was from my friend Mrs Powell who is a bone collector in England. I opened it and the first thing I saw was a box full of leaflets about plants which is cool, another box which said "Happy 10th birthday, Jake", which had a birthday card, a present, and another box which had this amazing skull which is from...

... a female Eider ! Eiders are a type of duck that lives in the sea, and they are the largest duck found in Europe. Mrs Powell sent a picture of how it was when she found it:

Mrs Powell's labels are really good for saying what it is, where it was found, when it was found, and what the Latin name is. This came from Amble Harbour in Northumberland which is the same place as the seal skull I wrote about last week.

 The skull even has six of the neck vertebrae still attached:

Just above the eyes are bits of bone that stick up, like horns, I think these are the "eyebrows" (like on this buzzard skull) but they feel much stronger.

The beak sheets are still on, which makes this a great find. The beak sheet is unusual because of two things.

The tip of the beak has a hard covering, about the size and feel of an adult's fingernail. This might be there to help with what it eats.

On an eider, the feathers come up the side of the beak. You can see little feathers at the end of the beak.  Inside the beak you can see things that look like teeth. 

I have seen these before on another bird, a pink-footed goose. When I got the skull it had skin on the roof of the mouth, and on the edge of the skin it had little ridges:

The ridges mean the bird can suck in water but keep out little bits of dirt.

I've never seen an eider myself, but 2012 I want to see more birds that live near the sea.

Thank you Mrs Powell !

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fluffyside said...

hello, jake, have a happy 10th birthday today, and hope you have a great time too with your family and friends, plus i like to wish you a happy christmas and a happy new year for 2012 from neil

Jake said...

Thanks, Neil !

Psydrache said...

Hey, happy birthday, Jake :D I hope you had an amazing day. What film did you watch in the cinema?
What a nice friend you have, thats a great skull. I love Eiders, they are my favourite ducks and sometime they are here in winter. I hope that you can see one soon.

Anonymous said...

happy b-day! hope ts a good one

Jake said...

Thanks everyone !

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