10 September 2021
When I think of the word “wry” the first thing that comes to mind is sarcastic or dry mocking humor. “He made a wry comment” and everyone smiled like this:
At its root “wry” means twisted, bent or turned abnormally to one side. Two birds have “wry” in their names and their bodies show it.
The wrybill (Anarhynchus frontalis) is a plover endemic to New Zealand whose bill is permanently twisted, always to the right.
The Eurasian wryneck (Jynx torquilla) is named “twisted neck” but his neck is straight …
… until he gets frightened.
Another magic day on Dream Island with FOUR Wryneck seen, including this bird living up to its name. What a remarkable anti-predator response. pic.twitter.com/izcDCXeiRr— Skokholm Island (@SkokholmIsland) September 5, 2021
All birds can twist their necks to preen, as Ecco demonstrates this week at the Pitt peregrine nestbox.
But the wryneck moves his neck in an mesmerizing way to distract predators.
We stop and stare when his neck is awry.
(images from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)