Order: Aves Family: Corvidae
Rook Corvus frugilegus

Over 8,000 living species of birds are distributed throughout the world and occupy most all available habitats. Their size ranges from the hummingbird, to the Wandering Albatross, and while most are able to fly, others (Ostriches, and Emus) are unable.

Recent studies indicate birds to be the living descendants of dinosaurs.

Remarkable features of birds, are their skulls and bones.

Examination of young bird’s skulls show a pattern of individual bones that are easily recognized and very similar to those of the archosaurian reptiles. As the bird ages, the individual bones undergo extensive fusion with each other, resulting in the outline of separate bones being obliterated and formation of a continuous thin wall enclosing the brain and sense organs.

Of interest with the adult skull is the high degree of uniformity throughout its class with characteristics that are universal, these are (1) lightweight; (2) rounded brain case; (3) face is elongated forwards into a long conical toothless beak; (4) nasal passages are simple; (5) olfaction organs are small and poorly developed; (6) large eye sockets (producing compression of this region of the skull); (7) foramen magnum, position allows the head to be pivoted both down and backward; (8) slender maxilla-jugal arch; Parasphenoid; (10) the freely articulated quadrant. (11) jaw kinetics, unlike mammals, when birds open their mouths both upper and lower jaws move.

The eyes have strengthening rings of bony plates (sclerotic rings) and in the case of C. frugilegus, small stirrup like bones (oss-optica) that serve to anchor and reduce displacing the optic nerves while the birds are pecking hard objects.

Their bones are a wonder of biological engineering, lightweight, thin walled, hollow, minimal internal matrix support structure adding strength to lightness, allowing flight to be possible.