birds fly home, migration Animals Biology 

Bird Migration: I’ll Fly Home—or Not

By Mark Lasbury, MS, MSEd, PhD @Biologuy1 The arctic tern travels from north of the Arctic Circle to Antarctica and back again every year. On the other hand, the snowy owl lives in the Arctic region year-round; it doesn’t migrate at all.  A Question of Bird Migration Why do some birds migrate while other birds stay in one place?  The possible explanations are many. Maybe the type of food they eat is present only part of the year, or maybe they can’t stand the cold temperature. They might need to…

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Bullfinches in Urban Birds: Barbados. Louis Lefebvre Animals 

Urban Birds Smarter, Healthier than Country Cousins

As more of the world’s rural areas become urbanized, habitat loss threatens biodiversity. Researchers hoped to understand how urban birds survive. By Emily Rhode Aesop’s fable of the country mouse and the city mouse cautions that city life, while certainly more exciting than the “modest life with peace and quiet” found in the country, is too full of “danger and strife” to truly be worth it. Researchers at McGill University in Canada have discovered that for some species of birds, this may not be true at all. Urban Birds and…

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big, beautiful bird brains Animals Biology 

Big, Beautiful Bird Brains

By Emily Willoughby @eawilloughby It is probably not a coincidence that the verbs ape and parrot have such a similar meaning: to imitate an observed behavior. There is something suggestive of intelligence in the words, perhaps informed by knowing that babies mimic the behaviors of adults as their brains begin to mature. But the similarity may reflect something more fundamental.  Primates and certain birds—most notably parrots and corvids, the group that includes crows and jays—are well known as being among the smartest of animals. For apes this is no surprise,…

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Animals Nature Photography 

Seabird Watching in Baja California

This is the latest addition to wildlife photographer Max Goldberg’s collection of photo essays based on his recent National Geographic tour of the coast of Mexico. After a long day spent exploring Isla Espíritu Santo on foot, it was time for a sunset cruise around the island to watch and photograph seabirds. The first birds I saw that evening were pelicans perched on the rocky shoreline. Most of the time, they were by themselves sunning or watching the waves, but sometimes they would gather in small groups of three or…

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Deinonychus Paleontology 

Discovering Deinonychus

By David Blagic A dinosaur now known as Deinonychus antirrhopus was discovered by paleontologist J. H. Ostrom in the Cloverly Formation in Montana in 1969. Three sets of Deinonychus remains lay around the partial remains of a Tenontosaurus. This led Ostrom to suggest that Deinonychus was a social animal and a predator, hunting more like modern wolves and lions than like crocodiles and Komodo dragons as previously thought. His claims about Deinonychus being a pack hunter were rejected by most paleontologists then, because they believed that cold-blooded reptiles with relatively…

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Animals Citizen Science Environment 

Osprey: Bird of Many Names

This bird may be called an osprey, a fish hawk, a river hawk, a sea hawk, or even a fish eagle! Learn more about the osprey. By Steven Spence guān guān jū  jiū           ‘Fair, fair,’ cry the ospreys 关   关   雎 鸠 zài  hé zhī zhōu            On the island in the river. 在  河 之 洲 (Opening lines of the famous Chinese poem 关雎 Guān jū  [1]) A Bird of Many Names Depending on where you live, the bird pictured here may be called an osprey, a fish hawk, a…

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Photo by Lisa Brown via Flickr Animals Environment 

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…

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ravens Animals 

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…

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