Hello folks who wonder if holding the door open for the stranger behind you will be considered rude henceforth,

We all have hopes and dreams. But becoming an adult means understanding that unless we lower our standards, we won't be able to achieve a modicum of those. So, it comes as no surprise that we rejoice watching the hero fight the 40 evil characters single-handedly, the ugly Betty getting the makeover and becoming the envy of everyone in the room, the small-time reporter bringing down the biggest corrupt corporation or obsessing over someone's social media feed where they are posting pictures of themselves at a beach in a new country every week. Let's be honest for a second here, we are never going to achieve that lifestyle, so it brings us great joy by trying to experience something indirectly.

Some members of the lice family always looked at birds flying overhead and wondered what it felt to kiss the sky, be an inspiration for others and experience freedom from gravity firsthand. So, they went to their career counselor and asked if there was a way they could start to fly. The career counselors dismissed their career goals as unattainable and asked them to choose a modest career in the human head domain. "It is really in demand", the counselor said. But these lice were not ready to take "NO" for an answer and decided if they cannot fly, they can instead take up residence in birds and experience the world of flight through the lives of these host birds.

Avian lice are parasites on birds and hence spend their entire lives on different parts of the body of their host bird. They are specialists that survive in only the singular location they are based in, be it the head, or the wings or on the body. One of them is the feather or wing lice.


Since these bird lice are specialists, they each have different body adaptations to avoid getting evicted by the host bird for not paying the monthly rent. Feather lice for instance have a slender body which helps them to hide from the prying eyes of its host looking to kick it out.

Below is one with just lean muscle and no fat.


These feather lice will feed on the soft and fluffy parts on the feathers. But when the bird starts preening its feathers, they will hide between the feather barbs and thus avoid getting detected. This is where being slender really helps.


Since these lice can't fly, the only way, they can avoid falling during a flight is by having a good grip or wearing their seatbelts. Having claws on their legs gives them an advantage to cling on to surfaces, be it feathers or tweezers.


Unlike other lice that live on humans and suck blood, these feather lice will chew their food instead. You can usually estimate the dining etiquette of any insect by observing its mouthparts. Below is the mouth of the feather louse.


Have you been in a situation where you wake up in the middle of the night and observe someone holding a knife in front of your bed? Wait, that does not look like the right script. Oh, yes! Sorry, here is the correct one. Ok, have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, because your feet were outside the blanket and thus too cold? And now you have trouble getting back to sleep.

Shorebirds have the same problem, so you will often see them tucking one leg into their body feathers. This helps them achieve the same effect as you would get by covering your legs with the blanket. Now you might be, wondering why just one foot at a time, why can't it do both. That is because unlike you who has the safety of your house or tent (let's be inclusive here folks), they are always under the threat of potential predators who will lap up the opportunity to feast on this "sitting duck".

 

"Wait, I am offended" said the sitting duck.
Sign of the times.




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