Query: "birds and bees"

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Feb 16 06:01:31 UTC 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Laurence Horn
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: Query: "birds and bees"

>>Uh, John, birds reproduce by fucking.

>This is off topic, perhaps, but according to information provided
>this week on another list I subscribe to, "Swans are the only birds
>with penises!" (exclamation point in original).  I feel a tension
>between the two claims above, and I'm not sure how to resolve it.

Most birds do not have penises. Sperm is stored in a compartment in the male
cloaca and passed to the female cloaca during copulation via a "cloacal
kiss," less like fucking and more like a feathery tribadism.

Ducks do have penises, as do ostriches, emus, rheas, and turkeys. I don't
know if swans, like ducks, do, but if so they're not unique, but a member of
small club among birds.

At one time, all birds had penises, but most species lost them somewhere
along the evolutionary path. A humbling thought for half the population.

See http://pharyngula.org/index/science/comments/penis_evolution/ and

--Dave Wilton
  dave at wilton.net

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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