Thursday, May 21, 2009


Little did I know when I was blogging about animal prosthetics that it is not uncommon to repair bird beaks. The Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery published an article about replacing the beaks of two birds with donor beaks. has a page about avian orthopedics that provides information about beak repair for owners of exotic birds. The first example shown here is a bald eagle whose upper beak had been shot off by a poacher in Idaho 3 years earlier - the artifical beak restored her ability to eat, drink, and preen her feathers. Second, a stork in Hungary had its upper beak - damaged in an accident - replaced with a beak made of synthetic resin by a dental prothetist. The third photo comes with no information except to confirm that it is a toucan with an artificial beak.
While I am on the subject of birds, which I actually have a fear of - I think it's the flapping of their wings, there have been several in the weird news: 1) a man whose smuggling of birds was thwarted when officials noticed feathers coming out of the bottom of his pants and bird poop on his socks, 2) a goose photographed flying upside-down while being tossed by the wind, and 3) an endangered bird that was photographed before ending up in the cooking pot. Click on the photos for the stories.


  1. I think that toucan is actually a southern ground hornbill. Note the protrusion on the top of the beak near the forehead and the scaly skin on the face. Toucans have much thicker beaks that are smoother and more conical, and tend to have feathers covering almost all their faces. The toucans compose a New World family, living only in North & South America, while the hornbills are an Old World family, living in Africa, Asia, and Melanesia. Both families feed on fruit (though that is not their only dietary item), and have long, distinctive bills and colored faces and chests. They occupy somewhat similar niches.

  2. Some articles about beak prosthesis:
    By Dr. Roberto Fecchio (brasilian specialist)


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