London, Jul 21: An apparent set of 'Siamese twin' birds, which are conjoined, has been discovered in Arkansas in the US. According to a report in the Telegraph, the pair of barn swallows, attached at the hip by skin and possibly muscle tissue, is being sent to the Smithsonian Institution for examination and confirmation.
The officials at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have described the finding as incredibly rare. "I can't even say it's one in a million - it's probably more than that," said Karen Rowe, an ornithologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. "There's just very little to no records of such a thing," she added. The birds, found in White County, fell out of a nest as a healthy sibling flew off to learn how to hunt with its parents, said Rowe.
The birds first appeared to have only three legs, but further examination found a fourth leg tucked up underneath the skin connecting the pair.
According to Rowe, the landowner who found them probably kept the birds for a day before calling wildlife officials.
By the time officials arrived, the birds were not eating. One died early Friday and a veterinarian later put the other one down.
"Finding conjoined birds is rare because they likely die before being discovered," said Rowe.
X-rays of the pair found each bird was fully formed. Rowe said that the birds would have had to come from a double-yolk egg.
Barn swallows can live for several years, though the conjoined twins might not have lived that long even if they had been separated.