Saturday, January 24, 2009

Talking 'bout Anhingas

Anhinga, male.

I can never remember which day in the Blog Week is supposed to be wordless. And which one is all about the sky. Is there one about the Wordless Sky, too? I'm confused.

This male anhinga was so durn purty that I just had to share him—wordlessly or not. I encountered him as he was drying his wings on a chilly morning at Viera Wetlands.

Anhingas are interesting birds. Whenever I get to see one, I am reminded of the very first one I saw on a Florida trip with my family in the early 1970s. Driving through the Everglades, we noticed all these dark birds with snake-like necks swimming in the water and perching near it with outstretched wings. What WERE these things?

We laughed when we found the bird in our Peterson guide. It was the anhinga. Back home in Pella, Iowa, we knew a family (of Dutch origin as most in Pella were) with the last name Hinga. They had a daugher named Ann.

No lie. Ann Hinga.

Last night at dinner, Robert Kirk from Princeton University Press, posed the question: How many birds are like the anhinga, which has the same name for its common name as it does for its genus and species (its two-part Latin name). In other words, the anhinga is noted in field guides thusly:

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Are there any other birds with this unusually repetitive name structure? Have I left you wordless in pondering this question? I certainly hope not.

Happy weekend to all.

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