Basal knob

That huge lump on the base of this Mute Swan’s beak is called a basal knob. Knowing that, however, tells you nothing about its function. What exactly is it for?

Mute Swan - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There are many species which have them. Often they’re larger in the males and they often change colour during the breeding season. It may be they’re caused by sexual selection by females looking for the healthiest mates for their family-to-be. But why there? And why like that?

Many people think that science has the answers to most questions about the natural world that we can ask, yet there’s still so much of life we don’t understand. Perhaps we should study nature and find out, before we’ve made many of the world’s species extinct?

More Mute Swans

Robin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The river walk Here are a few familiar faces from my social distancing walk. This Mute Swan is one of the aggressive pair… read more
Mute Swan - River Teign - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) A grey day on the Teign I'm out with my son in the early morning. He has a camera too and takes a photo of me.… read more
Mute Swan - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Flotilla It's a beautiful, placid scene. It's gorgeous light on the River Teign as I spot a Mute Swan flying and… read more
Daisy Nook Return to Daisy Nook In a time before the lockdown I visited Daisy Nook Country Park. It's in Failsworth, which is a great place… read more
Woodpigeon - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Bird portraits at Stover Country Park It's cold and I fancy a walk. There are Black Headed Gulls at Stover Country Park. I love the way… read more
Swan's Heel - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey Swans’ ankles There's a Mute Swan upending itself on the lake. It's giving me clear views of its ankles, or 'backwards knees'… read more

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