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August 8, 2013

Can they fly? Scientists disagree

The Daily Star

---- — I love watching birds fly, especially when they catch a draft and soar ever upward without ever having to flap their wings. 

That got me thinking about which birds can’t fly, such as penguins. Simple enough question, but not so with the answer. Scientists positively agree that in addition to penguins, these birds can’t fly: cassowary, emu, kiwi, ostrich, rhea and tinamous. After that point, the debates begin. Scientists maintain anywhere from nine to 40 bird species can’t fly. What an incredible range. Even within a species some fly, some don’t. Some birds have wings allowing them to fly, but they don’t, they only walk. When the counting begins, those birds are counted in two different ways, depending on who is doing the counting. 

Although I had hoped to give you a definitive answer about which birds can’t fly when I started researching this, we’ll just have to stick with the seven listed since there is no consensus beyond that. For me, it’s back to watching them fly and soar, let the scientists argue it out.


“Good Housekeeping 400 Calorie Chicken” is a collection of 60 recipes featuring chicken as a main dish. Because of the low calories, you will find it easier to slim down in your weight loss plan. From cutlets to salads and stir-fries to soups, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


Joe DeMarco has worked for Congressman John Mahoney for years and has helped him get out many different difficult situations. Now, the Congressman is asking for his help with his daughter, Molly. She’s been arrested and charged with insider trading. She allegedly bet a half million dollars on a tech firm whose price later soared. The question though, is how did she come up with that much money? It’s just the tip of the iceberg in “House Odds,” a novel by Michael Lawson.


“The Deserters” by Charles Glass is a history of ordinary soldiers who deserted the service during World War II. The author covers men who have been overlooked by history. He used army archives, personal diaries, self-published works, and court martial records. There were 150,000 British and American known deserters. This book tells what it was like to serve on the front line and the stories of the men before, during and after their service.


“The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail” by Richard Peck is about the smallest mouse in Buckingham Palace. He’s so small he doesn’t have a name or parents. When he breaks two rules, he has to run for his life and his future. Children will delight in this itty bitty mouse’s big adventures.


Gramma is coming for a visit in “Hooray Parade” by Barbara Joosse. She has all sorts of surprises and part of the fun is having children help guess what Gramma may have brought. Large, colorful illustrations, are fun for toddlers to look at while you read to them.


Ruff the dog is one busy dog, but he’s busy all by himself. There certainly isn’t any fun in that. Ruff sets out to find some friends in “Ruff!: and the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day.” Author Caroline Church will have children chuckling over the antics that Ruff employs in his pursuit of friends.


There are a lot of strange looking sea creatures, but children will pore over the ones in “Weird Sea Creatures” by Erich Hoyt. Full color photographs with black background settings really make these creatures stand out. They live in total darkness and some are so newly discovered, they don’t yet have official names. This is a book the whole family can enjoy.


Penelope the hippo can’t wait for school to start and she is so excited she already has chosen her outfit. When her best friend Tiny sees it, she tells her there is no way she can wear that to school. What will she do? Find out in “You’re Wearing That to School?” by Lynn Plourde.


Chamelia, the chameleon, loves stealing the spotlight no matter where she goes. When a new kid enters her class and upstages her, she is devastated. Should she try to beat Cooper, be his friend, or even share the stage? Ethan Long’s “Chamelia and the New Kid in Class” is a story about friendship.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at