Nov 19 2010

Anatomy: Furcula

Published by at 7:33 am under Bird Anatomy


Six days from now most Americans will get to see a bird skeleton.  After Thanksgiving dinner is over many will save the wishbone, dry it out, and pull it to make a wish. 

What is this bone? 

The real name of the wishbone is the furcula or “little fork.”  It’s actually the bird’s collar bones fused together in the center.  It acts as a spacer between the bird’s shoulders, strengthens its skeleton for flight and may even help it breathe

Because the furcula is U-shaped, it works like an elastic spring when the bird flies.  On the downbeat the U opens wide, on the upstroke it returns to the resting position. 

Open, rest, open, rest.  Imagine how fast the furcula vibrates inside a hummingbird!

Save the furcula from your turkey next Thursday and before it dries notice how flexible the U is and how well the fused center holds.   

Dry the furcula for three days.  Then find someone to pull it with you

I hope you get your wish.

(photo from the blog wheniwas8. Click the photo to see the blog where it appears.)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Anatomy: Furcula”

  1. John Englishon 19 Nov 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I’m sure the turkey wishes that everyone was having a ham for Thanksgiving ;-)
    Have a blessed holiday!

    John/Akela

  2. Kathyon 19 Nov 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Kate, when I was little, my Mom would dry the “WISHBONE”. But, before she dried it, she would take her largest darning needle and push it through the center of the top to make a hole. After it dried, she would paint it with her red nail polish, string a piece of yarn through it and tie it around my neck for a new necklace.
    Mom passed incredibly peacefully last Sunday morning and I had the gift to be with her when she did. She was 91 1/2 years old. Your story today, reminded me of one more beautiful memory I have of Mom. I have been remembering a lot of them this week, but this one took you to bring it to the forefront for me. It made me smile wide. Thank you. Thank you for all you do.

  3. Michellineon 20 Nov 2010 at 1:34 am

    Kathy, my sympathies on the loss of your Mom this week. I’m glad that you have so many wonderful memories of her. She sounds like a remarkable woman. I send my best.

  4. Kathyon 20 Nov 2010 at 9:44 am

    Thank you Michelline. She was and I was very blessed to have her. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and I hope you get the “good end” of the wishbone!

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