Is this a pandemic being born? [Google cache] The H7N9 (Bird) Flu Virus May Have Adapted To Mammals. The WHO is investigating. Four new human cases were identified late Tuesday.
Prior to their southward migration, the godwits eat up large, until up to 55 per cent of their body weight is fat. They then reduce the size of their gut, kidney and liver by up to 25 per cent to compensate for the added weight. Godwits are amazing migratory shorebirds who travel many thousands of miles at a go. Here's a brief documentary of people studying them (12 minutes on youtube + ad, shows invasive surgery). Here's some science on their flights (creative commons). [more inside]
Chris Stokel-Walker of BuzzFeed explains the motivation and technology behind last year's “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” viral video sensation. [Previously]
Four Canadian film students were assigned a project: Create a YouTube hoax video that gets 100,000 views. They got nearly 42 million instead. Here’s the definitive behind-the-meme look at how—and why—their homework snowballed into one of the most popular and rapidly spread videos ever.
Cut feather shadowboxes: feather art by Chris Maynard.
Bird sings dubstep [slyt]
More dodos than you can shake a stick at! The Dodo Blog: "The influence of dodos in the modern culture, in other words, a blog about dodos." Continued at The Dodo Tumblr. • Dodos previously & previously
'If you’re like me, you’ll have asked yourself many times, “Why do toucans have such ridiculously big bills?”' [more inside]
Golden eagle snatches kid. (Warning: slow motion section features inexplicable music choice.)
"Tool use in animals is rare, and bespeaks a level of intelligence that most of us are unaccustomed to associating with non-humans. That's what makes this video of a Green Heron using bread to lure fish to their doom so remarkable. One would be hard pressed to argue that this bird is not thinking critically about the technique it is employing to catch its prey. Not only is it demonstrating logic and reason in its capacity to understand that a piece of bread can be used as bait, it's also passing up the chance to eat the bread in favor of a better meal, actively weighing cost and benefit, pitting immediate gratification against delayed satisfaction. It's a stunning display of animal intelligence."
Those of you who go in for gardening, specifically those with strawberry patches, may find this idea to be of benefit: strawberry rocks. Might just keep those birds away!
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has set up web cams next to red-tailed hawk and great blue heron nests near campus, with around-the-clock live streaming video. Greatest hits so far include a newly-hatched hawk being fed, and an evening owl attack on the female heron. More exciting than Cornell's recent stinky corpse flower cam. (Note: the gristly thing in the hawk nest is a pigeon killed yesterday that they've been feeding to the hatchling, so trigger warning if dead things upset you.)
Little parakeet just won't leave kitty alone. I mean, really. Doesn't matter if kitty is drinking, or trying to sleep. He just won't leave kitty alone. I mean, really. Kitty's cool with it, though, and they enjoy the same food. And neither of them are especially interested in the beetle.
Lancaster, CA employs an innovative method of crime fighting: bird noises.
"The next time you hear a bird chirping outside your window, you might think twice about what’s going on inside his little birdbrain."
Are birds’ tweets grammatical? [Scientific American] But are the rules of grammar unique to human language? Perhaps not, according to a recent study, which showed that songbirds may also communicate using a sophisticated grammar—a feature absent in even our closest relatives, the nonhuman primates. Kentaro Abe and Dai Watanabe of Kyoto University performed a series of experiments to determine whether Bengalese finches expect the notes of their tunes to follow a certain order.
This post is really only intended for those that can appreciate and afford high quality bird pistols
The cockatoos are talking, and they're borrowing our words. Wild cockatoos, native to Australia, have been heard to utter English phrases. Escaped or freed pet birds pass phrases to others as they move up the hierarchy of their flock, as explained in an 8 minute news clip (MP3 linked in the page) featuring an interview with Martyn Robinson at the Australian Museum. [more inside]
Blogger BirdAboard discovers not one, but three fake Apple stores in Kunming, China.
First birds, then fish. between 4000-5000 blackbirds and an estimated 80-100,000 drum fish have turned up dead over the space of a few days around Beebe, Arkansas. [more inside]
BIRD CALLS and SONGS: A blog about the bird sounds of eastern North America and beyond. Featuring Nightjars, the Blackbird and Tits. (~v~)
Paedomorphic flightlessness and taxonomic affinities of an enormous Recent bird is a talk on the anatomy and evolutionary history of a certain flightless bird indigenous to New York City.
Olivia Bouler is making 500 original drawings of birds to send to donors who help save oil-soaked birds. AOL donated 25,000 and is hosting the 11 year-old's portfolio. [more inside]
Open air sports stadiums often have issues with birds, insects, and other wildlife. Common preventative measures include ultrasonic devices and bird netting. But Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - one of the venues for the 2010 World Cup - has taken an all-natural approach. It is working with the Urban Raptor Project to install raptors, bats, and owls to patrol the stadium for various pests, while a trained peregrine falcon chases away crows. This is not a new technique - Millennium Stadium in Wales has long used a Harris Hawk for bird control. But according to the NMB stadium manager, it "is the only stadium with a programme like this in place as a pest deterrent".
Turkey buzzard mistakes helicopter pilot for Santa Claus. No birds or pilots were harmed in the filming of the incident. Too bad about the windshield. (via)
Apes do it. Birds do it. Even educated elephants do it. But can a dog do it? Can a dog make art? Meet Tillamook Cheddar, an adorable Jack Russell Terrier who, after 19 solo shows, has made more than $100,000 in sales of paintings like these. (I believe she did not choose the titles.) Opinions on her work vary. [more inside]
So* you want to learn the Language of Birds? There's the mnemonic route and the youtube guide. You can listen to the birds in your local habitat or geographic area: New York State**, Florida, Southwestern US, Tropical America***, for example. Or, just find your favorite bird out of 104,517 audio and 33,693 video samples at Cornell's Macaulay Library, and listen. [more inside]
"The animals all think he's Margaret when he speaks. He loves ordering them around and commanding them – it's very surprising. He's not frightened or scared of them at all.""Parrot mimics owner's voice to boss around her other pets "
US Airways Flight 1549 has crashed into the Hudson. Fortunately, it appears that everyone has survived. The culprit appears to be a bird strike from a flock of geese (as opposed to a single bird, which airplane engines are built to withstand). [more inside]
Former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (re)posted Thomas Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush" to Slate. Discussion ensued, and became very lively when National Book Award winner Mark Doty observed that the poem contains an overt homage to an earlier poem by Keats. Guggenheim fellow Mark Halliday, MacArthur fellow Jim Powell and Annie Finch chime in. An opportunistic Billy Collins (also a former Poet Laureate & Guggenheim fellow) even showed up, attracted by the discussion of a "bird poem." A fascinating look at some of the finest American poets geeking out over poems that were hits before your mother was born.
A short video of a starling saying something.
According to new fossil evidence 50 million years ago the skies above London were ruled by a relative of the goose, the size of a light aircraft, with toothy crocodile-likejaws. Or as The Sun puts it... DON'T RUCK WITH THIS DUCK!
Taking a look through this site, I can see why bird watching is such a popular hobby. From the common to the bizarre to the downright adorable. this site has a little... no, scratch that, a whole lot of everything. I suggest starting at the family list on the lower left hand column of the main page and trounsing about for a spell; it's good for the soul.
Long revered for its value as a fertilizer, and as a raw material for explosives, guano is the dried droppings of various birds and bats. The New York Times has published an excellent account of the Peruvian harvest of this valuable resource including a multimedia slideshow. Guano was superseded by synthetics in the early part of the 20th century, due to the development of the Haber Bosch process, which fixed atmospheric nitrogen. An attempt to harvest bat guano from a Grand Canyon cave in the late 1950’s was beset by technical problems and was ultimately unsuccessful. The remaining structures at the canyon rim are now a tourist attraction.
Josh Klein is a novelist, hacker, and inventor whose Crow Vending Machine trains crows to pick coins off the ground in exchange for peanuts using Skinnerian training principles. Previously. So far, he's only succeeded with trained crows and banded crows, but he hopes to teach wild crows to use the device and collect some of the $215,000,000 in change lost in the United States each year. [more inside]
So you remember that 'dumb, totally fake' video of a bird pooping in a reporter's mouth that was posted and deleted a week ago? It's meta-fake. Maybe even pata-fake.
Metafilter's many cat lovers know that many kitties like birds. But bird aficionados aren't so fond of the cats. James Stevenson, founder of the Galveston, TX ornithological society, is accused of using a .22-caliber rifle to kill cats that he claims were stalking endangered birds. He admits to shooting the cats. [more inside]