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Sexual selection has been the prevalent explanation for the evolution of birds' elaborate feather ornaments. An overlooked possibility is that feather appendages arose due to a naturally selected sensory function involving sensitivity to pressure or touch to facilitate obstacle avoidance either in flight or on land. Here, we show experimentally that elongated facial feather adornments of whiskered auklets (Aethia pygmaea), a sexually monomorphic crevice-dwelling seabird, have a mechanosensorydoi:10.1093/beheco/arn029 fatcat:n6xei6eaqrblfmvyikyv4lfiem