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Re: Ostrom Reports.

At 11:09 AM 20/02/1999 -0800, you wrote:
>true, I see your point. but my other point about ducks using the BACK of
>their head to preen means a bird will preen with a blunt instrument if
>it has to.  Some use fire ants to get mites and other insects living in
>the feathers.  Some use preening as a courtship ritual. 

Yes, but when ducks use their heads in this way they are not arranging the
feathers, but helping to cover them with secretions from the oil gland (and
we have no positive evidence that fossil birds had oil glands, though
doubtless the structure evolved at some point!).  The other maintenance
behaviors you refer to are not really preening either (though it would
certainly not surprise me to learn that early feathered animals took dust
baths, for example).  Allopreening among members of a pair or group is
still preening, though I assume the maintenance function evolved first.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@home.com