Nature - “The waters of the African lake seem calm and peaceful. A few migrant swallows flit near the surface. Suddenly, leaping from the water, a fish grabs one of the famously speedy birds straight out of the air. The whole action of jumping and catching the swallow in flight happens so incredibly quickly that after we first saw it, it took all of us a while to really fully comprehend what we had just seen,” says Nico Smit, director of the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa…” More >>
The Guardian - “Icarus, a wildlife receiver circling above Earth, will monitor the epic journeys of tiny birds and insects, helping to warn us of volcanic eruptions and to protect us from diseases. Small birds, butterflies, bees and fruitbats will be fitted with tiny radio transmitters and tracked throughout their lifetimes from space when a dedicated wildlife radio receiver is fitted to the International Space Station next year…”
Talking Naturally - “I spend a fair bit of time surfing and flicking through various Bird Fora/Forums, and it’s striking how many queries there are from birders all over the world who’ve been completely stumped by finding an odd duck on their local pond or marsh that doesn’t seem to resemble anything in their bird book…”
The Conversation - “The Night Parrot has been called the “world’s most mysterious bird”. First discovered in 1845, it was rarely seen alive for most of the next hundred and seventy years, but it has been rediscovered in 2013 by Queensland naturalist John Young.
Science Daily – “The pollution of waterfowl meat and their poisoning by lead shot has dropped by 50% since this type of munitions was prohibited in wetlands in 2001. This is one of the data in a report from the Hunting Resources Research Institute, which also states that the hunters’ compliance with this mandate has been very high…”
Daily Mash - “Birds have revealed they fly in a V-formation because it looks ‘classy’. Scientists claimed the shape was caused by maximising ‘lift’ from the bird in front, but birds said they just like to pretend they are in the Red Arrows…”
… that rarest of things, a half decent car advert:
… and the Youtube sensation those Mad Men types got the idea from:
The Conversation - “The nightingale is something of a virtuoso. While some birds churn out lengthy, alarm-clock-like notes, it produces an intricate array of melodies. It also has a memory for music: nightingales are able to pause for a few seconds then take up their song again as if nothing had happened. But how much does this memory affect the overall performance? And what can the patterns tell us about how birds’ brains work?”
Emperor Penguins Breeding on Iceshelves - Plos One (Original Scientific Article)
“We describe a new breeding behaviour discovered in emperor penguins; utilizing satellite and aerial-survey observations four emperor penguin breeding colonies have been recorded as existing on ice-shelves”
Antarctic Emperor Penguins May Be Adapting to Warmer Temperatures - Science Daily
“A new study of four Antarctic emperor penguin colonies suggest that unexpected breeding behaviour may be a sign that the birds are adapting to environmental change.
New behaviour leaves Antarctic penguins on the shelf – The Conversation
“Emperor penguins have been spotted breeding on ice shelves for the first time, where previously they were thought only to breed on the much lower ice that floats on the ocean surface. It is not clear whether they are climbing onto the shelf ice because of a lack of their preferred sea ice, and whether the behaviour will ultimately offer them a safe haven from climate change.
BBC News - “ The mystery of why so many birds fly in a V formation may have been solved. Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College fitted data loggers to a flock of rare birds that were being trained to migrate by following a microlight. This revealed that the birds flew in the optimal position – gaining lift from the bird in front by remaining close to its wingtip. The study, published in the journal Nature, also showed that the birds timed their wing beats.
Science Daily (Image Lappet-faced vulture, Jerry Pank) - “African vultures are famous for quickly finding carcasses; so much so that they are considered clairvoyants in parts of Africa. But just how do vultures know where to find food across vast regions in the first place? In a paper appearing in the January 8th edition of the journal PLoS ONE, Dr. Corinne Kendall of Columbia University and African Vulture Technical Advisor with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and colleagues have discovered that vultures, rather than aggregating where animals are most abundant as previously thought, instead focus on areas and conditions where animals are most likely to die…”
Science Daily - “The variability in the song of the male spectacled warbler could play a crucial role in mating, defending territory and recognition between individuals of this species. Studying their acoustic signals will help to understand how this bird, with a small brain and limited social needs, can use a complex system of communication.”
“Based on Jonathan Franzen’s powerful New Yorker essay, the award-winning film about the secret struggle to save the songbirds.”
The Conversation - “Why help another when you can help yourself? Cooperation is very common in nearly all life, from genes and cells to humans and other animals. However understanding why can be difficult: being selfish seems more rewarding. In a new study published in Science, we investigated whether the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds could be linked to defending their nests…”