Nature Photography Zoology 

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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Bald Eagle, Kodiak Alaska Nature Photography Zoology 

Bald Eagles of Alaskan Skies

By Max Goldberg During my last trip through Alaska, I was primarily focused on photographing the wild grizzly bears as they fished for salmon. I soon realized, however, that the salmon and bears were not the only animals around. All of a sudden, a magnificent adult bald eagle leapt from it’s nest directly across from me, and flew low over the river. After a long day of watching the bears, my father and I started to walk back to our cabin at Brooks Lodge. He decided to head all the way back,…

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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…

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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…

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zebra finches Zoology 

Zebra Finches: Learning from Lovebirds

From our Friends at ResearchGate Lovebirds know what they’re doing. It only takes zebra finches days to choose a partner, and yet their relationships last a lifetime. That’s what Malika Ihle, behavioral ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, found in her recent study on the birds’ courtship behavior. We speak with her about the secret to finches’ love, and what people might learn from them. Are human love and bird love alike in any way? What could be similar to human love is that birds have individual rather…

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Hummingbird by Steven Spence Biology Zoology 

Amazing Hummingbirds: Dancing in the Air

Are you wondering how a hummingbird flies? The flight skills of these tiny birds put our airplanes and helicopters to shame. By Steven Spence Dancing in the Air A hummingbird puts fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to shame. Not only can it hover, it can also fly forward, backwards, sideways, and even upside down! During a mating display, the male Anna’s Hummingbird can accelerate up to 385 body lengths (g-force 10) per second during a dive. A Peregrine falcon dives at only 200 body lengths per second, and a Mig-25 fighter…

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Male and female European green woodpeckers (Steven Spence) Environment Zoology 

Yaffle: Meet the European Green Woodpecker

By Steven Spence “Yaffle” was one of the English folk names given to the European green woodpecker (German Grünspecht; Latin Picus viridis) due to its distinctive, laughing call. The European green woodpecker spends most of its time foraging on the ground instead of pecking holes in trees as most other woodpecker species do. The bird primarily eats ants because its tongue is well adapted for this, being 10cm long and sticky (see this short video for a view of the bird’s impressive tongue). This woodpecker’s tongue is so long, in…

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Red Kite (Steven Spence) Biology Environment Science and Art Zoology 

Wild Red Kite: Red and Deadly

Photography and Text by Steven Spence This is a wild red kite (German: Roter Milan; Latin Milvus milvus ), which lives mainly in Germany, Poland, France and Spain, but is seen in other parts of Europe. Black kites (German: Schwarzer Milan; Milvus migrans) are more widespread and more often encountered. Red Kite Population and Range Estimates suggest there are approximately only 19,000 to 25,000 breeding pairs of red kites in all of Europe (~12,000 in Germany). Thus, today’s photo is a relatively special treat. The population of black kites is…

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