Documenting India’s Distinctive Birdhouses

For seven years, a photographer based in Delhi has collected images of ornamental structures known as chabutras. Here are some of his favorites.

#birds, #gujarat-state-india, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #india, #photography, #travel-and-vacations

How Animals See Themselves

The most familiar of settings can feel newly unfamiliar through the senses of other creatures.

#animals, #attenborough-david, #birds, #documentary-films-and-programs, #eyes-and-eyesight, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #senses-and-sensation

Spring Now Comes With a Secret Dread

Depending on the arrival of migratory birds for spring to begin means accepting the changing world the birds fly through.

#birds, #columbia-county-ny, #global-warming, #seasons-and-months, #spring-season

Avian Influenza Is Affecting Wild Mammals

As a new version of bird flu spread through North America this spring, scientists began finding the virus in red foxes, bobcats and other mammals.

#avian-influenza, #birds, #canada, #foxes, #h5n1, #mammals, #michigan, #united-states, #wisconsin, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

As Geese Leave Mementos, a California City Weighs a Cull

The proposal has pit animal rights activists against officials in Foster City, Calif., where Canada geese have been fouling up public spaces with their feces. “It’s everywhere,” the mayor said.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #california, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #feces, #geese, #san-francisco-calif, #san-francisco-bay-area-calif, #united-states

The (fossil) eyes have it: Evidence that an ancient owl hunted in daylight

The (fossil) eyes have it: Evidence that an ancient owl hunted in daylight

Enlarge (credit: IVPP)

An extraordinarily well-preserved fossil owl was described in PNAS this past March. Owls are not new to the fossil record; evidence of their existence has been found in scattered limbs and fragments from the Pleistocene to the Paleocene (approximately 11,700 years to 65 million years ago). What makes this fossil unique is not only the rare preservation of its near-complete articulated skeleton but that it provides the first evidence of diurnal behavior millions of years earlier than previously thought. 

In other words, this ancient owl didn’t stalk its prey under the cloak of darkness. Instead, the bird was active under the rays of the Miocene sun.

Seeing the light

Its eye socket was key to making this determination. Dr. Zhiheng Li is lead author on the paper and a vertebrate paleontologist who focuses on fossil birds at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in China. He explained in an email that the large bones around the eyes of birds (but not mammals) known as the scleral ossicles offer information about the size of the pupil they surround. In this case, the pupils of this fossil owl were small. And if the pupil is small, he wrote, it “means they can obtain good vision with a smaller eye opening.”

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#birds, #evolution, #fossils, #owls, #paleontology, #science

There’s an Animal That Walks on Three Limbs. It’s a Parrot.

Lovebirds — and perhaps other species — seem to confound nature’s strong preference for bilateral bodies.

#anatomy-and-physiology, #animal-behavior, #birds, #parrots, #proceedings-of-the-royal-society-b-journal, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

A Central Park Birder Has a New TV Show

Christian Cooper’s encounter in Central Park with a white woman who called 911 to falsely accuse him of threatening her spurred a national outcry. Now he is hosting a birding series for National Geographic.

#birds, #birdwatching, #content-type-personal-profile, #cooper-christian-birder, #extraordinary-birder-tv-program, #national-geographic, #television

A Boxed Set for the Birds Hopes to Save Them, Too

A star-studded, 242-track trove of songs and poems inspired by birdsong is the latest project in a series of releases raising awareness about its own threatened sources.

#audio-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #birds, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #for-the-birds-album, #music, #poster-randall

The ‘Ultimate Bird’ Once Prowled the Seas of a Young Japan

Researchers described Annakacygna, a family of flightless ancient swans that were filter-feeders.

#birds, #fossils, #gunma-museum-of-national-history, #japan, #paleontology, #research, #swans, #the-bulletin-of-gunma-museum-of-natural-history, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Dozens of Bald Eagles Have Died From Bird Flu

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza is spreading among many raptors and wild birds, including the national bird.

#agriculture-department, #avian-influenza, #bald-eagles, #birds, #your-feed-science

A Portrait of South Georgia: Abundance, Exploitation, Recovery

A series of ecological initiatives, including the eradication of several invasive species, has dramatically revived the life and landscape of this remote sub-Antarctic island.

#animals, #antarctic-regions, #birds, #global-warming, #hunting-and-trapping, #invasive-species, #islands, #oceans-and-seas, #penguins, #rats, #reindeer, #seals-animals-and-sealing, #south-georgia-island, #whales-and-whaling, #wildlife-die-offs

‘Snarge’ Happens and Studying It Makes Your Plane Trip Safer

When a bird collides with an airplane, determining its species can help prevent future collisions. To do that, scientists need snarge.

#aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #birds, #research, #snarge, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Birds That Build Nests With Domes May Be Doomed

A nest with a roof may provide some birds with more protection. But bird species that build simpler nests may be more adaptable to changing conditions.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #ecology-journal, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

How Nature Becomes a Casualty of War

Research on past conflicts suggests that the war in Ukraine could have a profound environmental impact.

#angola, #animals, #biodiversity, #birds, #chernobyl-ukraine, #conservation-of-resources, #defense-and-military-forces, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #europe, #forests-and-forestry, #gorongosa-national-park-mozambique, #invasive-species, #korean-demilitarized-zone, #mousseau-timothy-a, #mozambique, #nicaragua, #nuclear-wastes, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #ukraine, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #wildlife-sanctuaries-and-nature-reserves, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Nashville’s Symphony Has a Bird Migration Problem

A vast flock of purple martins has made Nashville’s symphony center its staging ground for the fall migration. It’s not just the city’s problem. It’s a human problem.

#biodiversity, #birds, #global-warming, #nashville-tenn, #nashville-symphony-orchestra

Wind Energy Company to Pay $8 Million in Killings of 150 Eagles

ESI Energy pleaded guilty based on the documented “blunt force trauma” deaths of golden eagles struck by fast-moving turbine blades, prosecutors said.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bald-eagles, #birds, #eagles-birds, #energy-and-power, #esi-energy, #fines-penalties, #nextera-energy-resources, #turbines, #wind-power

These Birds Form a Trio, but Probably Not a Throuple

Some pairs of cranes in India, known for their monogamous devotion, seem to bring in a third bird to act like a kind of avian au pair.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #ecology-journal, #india, #reproduction-biological, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

These Birds Aren’t Lost. They’re Adapting.

Bird-watchers love to see vagrants, or birds that have traveled far outside their range. But scientists say they have a lot to teach us in a world facing ecological change.

#animal-behavior, #animal-migration, #biodiversity, #birds, #birdwatching, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #global-warming, #research, #vagrancy-in-birds-book, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Why ‘Birding With a Purpose’ Is What You Should Do This Spring

Every 20 years, New York collects vital information about birds. And gardeners have an important role to play.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #birdwatching, #cornell-laboratory-of-ornithology, #flowers-and-plants, #gardens-and-gardening, #new-york-state, #quarantine-life-and-culture

The Transfixing Beauty of Starling Murmurations

Each spring and autumn, the skies in southern Denmark come to life with the swirling displays of hundreds of thousands of starlings, an event known locally as “sort sol.”

#animal-behavior, #birds, #catalonia-spain, #denmark, #england, #friesland-netherlands, #germany, #ireland, #netherlands, #photography, #travel-and-vacations, #united-nations-educational-scientific-and-cultural-organization

What to Know About the Bird Flu Outbreak

More than 15 million chickens and turkeys from infected commercial and backyard flocks in 19 states have been killed, officials said.

#agriculture-and-farming, #avian-influenza, #birds, #chickens, #eggs, #poultry, #turkeys

Will the Jamaica Bay Restoration Project Save New York From Rising Seas?

A major restoration project aims to protect the Jamaica Bay area — and all of New York — by returning salt marshes and sand dunes to their natural states. But will it be too late for the people of Broad Channel?

#area-planning-and-renewal, #army-corps-of-engineers, #birds, #broad-channel-queens-ny, #coast-erosion, #conservation-of-resources, #environment, #environmental-conservation-department-nys, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #hurricane-sandy-2012, #jamaica-bay-queens-ny, #jamaica-bay-wildlife-refuge-queens-ny, #parks-and-recreation-department-nyc, #queens-nyc, #regional-plan-assn, #rockaway-peninsula-queens-ny, #sanderson-eric-w, #wetlands

Flamingo Spotted in Texas After Escaping a Kansas Zoo in 2005

A fisherman’s sighting in March confirmed that a flamingo that fled a Kansas zoo in 2005 has defied the odds to live a Pixar-worthy life in the wilds of Texas.

#birds, #flamingos, #gulf-coast-us, #kansas, #tanzania, #texas, #wetlands, #wichita-kan, #zoos

Japan Saved Red-Crowned Cranes. Can They Survive Without Humans?

Conservators vastly increased the numbers of red-crowned cranes, a symbol of loyalty and longevity in Japanese culture. That’s just a start.

#birds, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #japan

Australia’s Clever Birds Did Not Consent to This Science Experiment

The magpies showed their smarts by helping one another remove tracking harnesses that scientists carefully placed on them.

#animal-behavior, #animal-cognition, #australia, #australian-field-ornithology-journal, #birds, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

A Bird Is Blamed as 10,000 Lose Power in New Orleans

Electricity was restored in the central business district after a three-hour interruption, Entergy New Orleans said.

#birds, #electric-light-and-power, #entergy-corporation, #louisiana, #new-orleans-la, #power-failures-and-blackouts

Do birds have language? It depends on how you define it

Zebra finches sitting together on a tree branch and sunning.

Enlarge / Zebra finches sitting together on a tree branch and sunning. (credit: sagarmanis | Getty Images)

In our quest to find what makes humans unique, we often compare ourselves with our closest relatives: the great apes. But when it comes to understanding the quintessential human capacity for language, scientists are finding that the most tantalizing clues lie farther afield.

Human language is made possible by an impressive aptitude for vocal learning. Infants hear sounds and words, form memories of them, and later try to produce those sounds, improving as they grow up. Most animals cannot learn to imitate sounds at all. Though nonhuman primates can learn how to use innate vocalizations in new ways, they don’t show a similar ability to learn new calls. Interestingly, a small number of more distant mammal species, including dolphins and bats, do have this capacity. But among the scattering of nonhuman vocal learners across the branches of the bush of life, the most impressive are birds—hands (wings?) down.

Parrots, songbirds, and hummingbirds all learn new vocalizations. The calls and songs of some species in these groups appear to have even more in common with human language, such as conveying information intentionally and using simple forms of some of the elements of human language such as phonology, semantics, and syntax. And the similarities run deeper, including analogous brain structures that are not shared by species without vocal learning.

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#birds, #language, #science

Avian Flu Spread in the US Worries Poultry Industry

Though the risk to humans is low, scientists warn that outbreaks among farmed birds increase the potential for the virus to mutate and pose a threat to humans.

#agriculture-and-farming, #agriculture-department, #avian-influenza, #birds, #chickens, #international-trade-and-world-market, #turkeys, #viruses

Six Days Afloat in the Everglades

After a storm disrupted plans for a 99-mile paddling trek, a Times journalist’s time on the water took a more reflective turn. Come look and listen alongside him.

#alligators, #beaches, #birds, #camps-and-camping, #douglas-marjory-stoneman, #everglades-fla, #everglades-national-park, #florida, #forests-and-forestry, #gulf-of-mexico, #islands, #lake-okeechobee-fla, #levees-and-dams, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #rivers, #tornadoes, #travel-and-vacations, #water, #weather, #wetlands

Weathering climate change may be easier for birds with big brains

Image of a crow on a fence.

Enlarge / Could this guy’s mental abilities be staving off some of the impact of climate change? (credit: Andrew Howe)

Many bird species are slowly but surely getting smaller. One study from 2019 looked at more than 70,000 North American migratory birds across 52 species that met untimely ends by flying into Chicago buildings from 1978 to 2016. It suggests that birds in this diverse set had consistently grown smaller as the summers had grown hotter through climate change over the past 40 years.

While this shrinking was observed across these migratory species, new research suggests that birds with bigger brains—relative to their body size—aren’t shrinking like their smaller-brained kin. The research posits that birds like corvids may be better able to survive climate change simply because they are “smarter” in some sense.

Justin Baldwin, a PhD candidate at Washington University and one of the authors of the paper, said that brain size isn’t always a useful proxy for intelligence. But—and we’re not sure why—it does appear to hold true for many birds. “The birds with big brains are basically the ones that build tools, live in complex social groups, live and remain in harsh environments, live longer, [put] more time and energy into raising babies, and [survive] better in the wild,” he told Ars.

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#adaptation, #animal-intelligence, #birds, #climate-adaptation-strategies, #climate-change, #science

Where to See Winter Wildlife in the U.S.

From great gray owls in Minnesota to bison in Central Florida (yes, Florida), there are innumerable opportunities this winter to view animals — in the wild and even on city streets.

#animals, #birds, #bison, #owls, #travel-and-vacations, #winter-season, #wolves

The Magic of Birdwatching in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park

For the teenage sons of an obsessed birder, a father’s bird-watching habit had become nerdy — until some bold jays in an Ontario park turned dubious adolescents into giggly boys.

#algonquin-provincial-park-ontario, #birds, #birdwatching, #travel-and-vacations

If Rover Can Make It Here, Perhaps Bald Eagles Can Make It Anywhere

A white-headed raptor has been preying on smaller birds in Central Park. It’s come a long way since conservationists affixed aluminum bands to its legs four years ago.

#bald-eagles, #birds, #birdwatching, #central-park-manhattan-ny, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #green-wood-cemetery-brooklyn-ny, #new-haven-conn, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

A California City Is Overrun by Crows. Could a Laser Be the Answer?

In a move befitting its Silicon Valley setting, the city of Sunnyvale, Calif., will aim a laser at 1,000 birds that have overwhelmed the downtown area during the pandemic.

#birds, #california, #crows-birds, #laser-light-amplification-by-stimulated-emission-of-radiation, #silicon-valley-calif, #sunnyvale-calif

Chasing the Night Parrot: The ‘Ghost Bird’ of Australia’s Outback

An elusive, nocturnal parrot disappeared for more than a century. An unlikely rediscovery led to ornithological scandal — and then hope.

#audubon-magazine, #australia, #biodiversity, #birds, #birdwatching, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #indigenous-australians, #parrots, #science-and-technology, #university-of-queensland

A Ferry Is Coming to Coney Island. Here’s Why Some Residents Are Angry.

Critics are concerned the ferry service would release toxic pollution and disrupt the habitat of horseshoe crabs, toppling an entire food chain.

#area-planning-and-renewal, #birds, #catsimatidis-john-a, #coney-island-brooklyn-ny, #crabs, #environment, #ferries, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #transit-systems

Silent Films Offer Rare Glimpses of Life in 1920s Ireland

Shot by an American ornithologist in the early years of Irish independence, the footage turned up in the archives of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and is being restored.

#birds, #chicago-ill, #chicago-academy-of-sciences, #cork-ireland, #county-cork-ireland, #county-kerry-ireland, #dingle-ireland, #galway-ireland, #grandparents, #ireland, #nineteen-hundred-twenties, #san-francisco-calif, #united-states

I Can’t Give My Cat the Perfect Life. ‘TV for Cats’ Gives Her a Taste.

Ideally, Daisy and I would live in a sprawling home with outdoor space. Instead, she is content to chirp at two-dimensional birds on YouTube.

#birds, #cats, #great-performers-2021, #youtube-com

Climate Change Driving Some Albatrosses to ‘Divorce,’ Study Finds

Warming oceans are sending the monogamous sea birds farther afield to find food, putting stress on their breeding and prompting some to ditch their partners.

#birds, #conservation-of-resources, #global-warming, #new-zealand, #reproduction-biological, #research

The Steller’s Sea Eagle That Is Very, Very Lost

Bird-watchers have been tracking a Steller’s sea eagle. They’re usually found in Asia, but this one turned up in Eastern Canada and may have flown as far as South Texas.

#animal-migration, #birds, #birdwatching, #nova-scotia-canada, #your-feed-science

New Zealand Held a Contest for Bird of the Year. The Birds Lost.

The long-tailed bat, one of the country’s only two native land mammals, flew away with the top prize.

#bats, #birds, #contests-and-prizes, #new-zealand

Wild Animals Are Thriving in New York City Right Now

New York is now ‘the greenest big city on earth,’ one naturalist said. Some creatures have noticed, and are staying for a while.

#animals, #area-planning-and-renewal, #audubon-society-national, #benepe-adrian, #birds, #charlop-powers-sarah, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #floods, #flowers-and-plants, #greenbelt-native-plant-center, #natural-areas-conservancy, #new-york-city, #new-yorkers-for-parks, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #parks-and-recreation-department-nyc, #pesticides, #wetlands, #wildlife-sanctuaries-and-nature-reserves

How Lili Taylor, Actress and Birder, Spends Her Sundays

When she’s not onstage, she’s often at her bedroom window, taking in Brooklyn’s wildlife.

#actors-and-actresses, #audubon-society-national, #birds, #cobble-hill-brooklyn-ny, #taylor-lili

A Dispatch From an Endangered Bird’s ‘Garden of Eden’

Immerse yourself in the visual splendor of a tiny volcanic island in the northern Andaman Sea, the only home of the little-known Narcondam hornbill.

#andaman-islands, #biology-and-biochemistry, #birds, #india, #indian-ocean, #islands, #photography, #travel-and-vacations, #volcanoes

The Marvelous Physics of Swarming Midges

There’s more in that cloud of bugs than meets the eye.

#animal-behavior, #birds, #midges-insects, #physical-review-letters, #physics, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Hank Paulson: The World’s Biodiversity Is in Peril

The growing damage to the world’s biodiversity presents dire risks to human societies.

#biodiversity, #birds, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #food, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #great-barrier-reef-australia, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #india, #intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change, #rabies, #reefs, #united-nations-convention-on-biological-diversity, #united-states, #wetlands

Biden Administration Restores Bird Protections, Repealing Trump Rule

The Trump-era rule protected oil, construction and other industries from liability if they killed or injured birds while doing business.

#birds, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #haaland-deb, #interior-department, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline

Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions

The animals and one plant had been listed as endangered species. Their stories hold lessons about a growing global biodiversity crisis.

#biodiversity, #birds, #birdwatching, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #fish-and-wildlife-service, #global-warming, #ivory-billed-woodpecker, #mussels

World’s Most Dangerous Birds Were Raised by People 18,000 Years Ago

Researchers studying ancient cassowary egg shells in New Guinea found signs that the sharp-taloned bird was being domesticated.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #australia, #birds, #breeding-of-animals, #eggs, #new-guinea, #proceedings-of-the-national-academy-of-sciences, #research, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science