Fish Catches Bird in Flight

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 >>

Birds’ migration secrets to be revealed by space tracker

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…”

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Manky Mallards (domestic, feral, or just plain odd Mallards)

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…”

Image © Jim The Photographer Creative Commons

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Now I know how the caged bird sings

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?”

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Emperor Penguins Breeding on Iceshelves

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.

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Fly like a bird: The V formation finally explained

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.

Lappet-faced vulture, Jerry Pank

Drought and Drowning Equal Vulture Supermarket

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…”

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How birds cooperate to defeat cuckoos

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…”