Shoe-billed Stork

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Let’s talk beats per minute. 

In music this is called “tempo” and, whether you’re playing the piano or a euphonium, it’s important because it lets you know what the timing or speed of the music is.

Beats per minute is also important in heart health. A normal resting heart rate for people (10 years and older) is 60 – 100 beats per minutes (bpm). A lower heart rate implies a more efficient heart function, like an athlete might have a resting heart beat of 40 beats per minute, or a meditating monk can get his heart rate down to 20 bpm.

However, there is another type of beat per minute: how many times a bird flaps its wings. An eagle beats its wings 300 times a minute.  A Blue Jay, about 2,400 times.  A hummingbird–12,000!  The Shoe-billed Stork… just 150 flaps per minute. They are taking their time, Baby.

Why shouldn’t they? Shoebills have evolved to occupy an inaccessible habitat in eastern Africa (much like the Stellar’s Sea Eagle living in hostile Siberia). They save their speed for catching fish in shallow water and look awesome with their shoe-shaped beaks. Slow and steady.

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