A perching Anna's hummingbird (© Matthew Shain 2014) Ornithology Zoology 

How to Disrupt a Hummingbird’s Hover

A hummingbird’s ability to hover in place can be easily disrupted by tricking the bird’s brain. Our brains can be tricked in a similar way. Watching a hummingbird hover and maneuver can be mesmerizing. Hovering in place, however, isn’t as easy as it might appear, according to new research from University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC has found that a hovering hummingbird needs a completely stationary visual field. Zoologists Benjamin Goller and Douglas Altshuler discovered this quirk in the tiny bird’s hovering skills by offering them sugar water from a…

Read More
Photo by Lisa Brown via Flickr Environment Zoology 

Citizen Science Informs Bird Feeder Dilemma

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic If you enjoy turkey this Thanksgiving, take a moment to think not about the bird on your plate but rather the birds outside your home. With increasing urbanization taking away more natural habitat, local wildlife is having difficulty finding food. Bird feeders have become a popular way for homeowners to help local wildlife and contribute to conservation efforts. But are these feeders, borne of good intentions, actually helping or hurting wild birds? A recent study has enlisted the help of Canadian citizens to find out. Feeding the…

Read More
ravens Zoology 

Ravens Cooperate, but Not with Cheaters!

By Kate Stone Several recent studies have revealed that ravens are among the most intelligent species of birds and even species in general. Now, cognitive biologists from the University of Vienna add teamwork, cooperation, and avoidance of cheaters to the ravens’ already lengthy list of skills. “From the wild, it was already known that ravens are able to cooperate when, for example, mobbing predators. But using an experimental set-up working with captive ravens now allowed us to investigate how exactly they do so,” says Jorg Massen. In Massen’s experiment, two…

Read More