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Archive for December 27, 2017

2017—Tomium

While reviewing some of the Snow Geese photographs I took in Bosque del Apache, I noted that when the beak of a Snow Goose was parted slightly, usually while they were contributing to the cacophony during the morning blast off, the edges of the beak appeared serrated…almost like rows of teeth.  I know that birds don’t have teeth but in this photograph of a Snow Goose, both the bottom and top edges of the beak are lined with small black points.  The individual points are actually called tomium (pl., tomia). This unique characteristic to some birds’ beaks is for the purpose of cutting.  And, for Snow Geese, its purpose is for cutting grass.   This goose was heading to the farm fields to feed, presumably on grass or corn and putting those tomia to good use.

snow goose tomium.jpg