225 posts tagged with birds.
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The Birds: Why the passenger pigeon became extinct

"One hunter recalled a nighttime visit to a swamp in Ohio in 1845, when he was sixteen; he mistook for haystacks what were in fact alder and willow trees, bowed to the ground under gigantic pyramids of birds many bodies deep." In his new book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years? (SLNewYorker.) [more inside]
posted by Rangi on Sep 3, 2015 - 47 comments

A "Wonderously Wonderful" Film with the "Strangest Cast[...] in History"

There exists a film whose trailer tantalizes the brain; a film whose English dub, believed to have been created by the notorious K. Gordon Murray (his previous lies - he is described as a "flim-flammer" who ran a "kiddie circuit"), has eluded even the most fervent afficionados of strange cinema. Thanks to the people of Sweden and a translator known only as Doctor Death (and fixes from uploader Justin Sane - you can see the translation by turning on captions), you can enter the world of The Secret of Magic Island: the live-action children's film starring an all-animal cast.
posted by BiggerJ on Aug 31, 2015 - 14 comments

Make a little bird bath in your soul

What better way to relax than to see a guy creating a bird bath in his hands for his pet finch?
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 18, 2015 - 29 comments

Social attraction

More than four decades ago, budding ornithologist Stephen Kress picked up an old field guide, and read that colonies of puffins had once nested on a tiny Maine island called Egg Rock, the last ones disappearing around 1885.

That fact so captivated him, he decided to try something that no other ornithologist ever hadhe would attempt to restore a native bird population to the Maine islands where they had once thrived.[Stephen Kress previously] [Bonus Puffin: PUFFIN CAM]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jun 17, 2015 - 17 comments

A café setting that makes birds relatable, like they're in a soap opera

"When it really hit me that Piip Show wasn't happening again this year, that really gave me the push to set this up." Visit Junco's Pub: Tiniest Pub in Newfoundland (live stream), from Mefi's own stokast - see full project description on MeFi Projects; FAQ.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on May 30, 2015 - 10 comments

Love Me Chicken Tender

Cockatoo loves Elvis. Other Cockatoo does not.
posted by The Whelk on May 30, 2015 - 41 comments

Movement in the Sky

An amazing murmuration of starlings to make your Monday more enjoyable. [slyt | previously 1,2]
posted by quin on May 4, 2015 - 31 comments

Strange Wing

While scientists have long known that modern day birds are dinosaurs (a fact that is self-evident if you ever look at a cassowary), it now appears that birds were not the dinosaurs' only attempt at flight. It may have had feathers, but the recently discovered Yi qi ("Strange Wing") had wings like a bat.
posted by brundlefly on Apr 29, 2015 - 22 comments

Making cats look silly, for a good cause

Saving birds' lives at the risk of making cats die of embarrassment
Domestic cats and tweety birds the world over have had a long-standing and rather one-sided feud: cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds, mostly songbirds, every year in the US alone. One Vermont-based company, Birdsbesafe, is seeking to protect our feathery friends while imposing a little whimsical shame on our murdery, furry friends. How? With terrible, early-90s-esque scrunchies.

posted by Lexica on Mar 27, 2015 - 117 comments

"My business is built on everlasting trust.”

The Pigeon King and the Ponzi Scheme that Shook Canada [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2015 - 22 comments

When Is a Robin Not a Robin? When It's a Thrush.

With spring just around the corner (Mother Nature swears for real this time), North Americans are eagerly on the lookout for one of the earliest migratory harbingers of spring, the robin.

Wait, what? Robins are a Christmas bird! Hey, that's not a robin at all! [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Mar 3, 2015 - 42 comments

Crows Show The Love

A little girl started feeding the crows accidentally, decided to make it a habit, and now receives gifts in return. Apparently, this is a crow thing.
posted by purplesludge on Feb 26, 2015 - 117 comments

100 Birds

The Hundred Birds Project

1 year, 100 carved birds, 100 types of wood.
posted by zamboni on Feb 5, 2015 - 9 comments

Your childhood is fine. Calm down.

A Comprehensive Guide to Dinosaur Feathers and Scales
posted by brundlefly on Feb 1, 2015 - 16 comments

We'll celebrate a woman for anything, as long as it's not her talent.

The celebrated Australian author Colleen McCullough, probably best known for The Thorn Birds, has died at 77. McCullough's contribution to writing contributed well after her most famous book and she will be sadly missed. What has caused ire has been the way that her obituary was written in the Australian national newspaper, The Australian, where the second line refers to her physical beauty and weight. The Guardian compares this with other obituaries of people who do not have to be classified by weight or beauty or, as you would know them, men.
posted by nfalkner on Jan 30, 2015 - 72 comments

He strives to impress his guest with a collection of blue gifts.

THE EROTIC AND SULTRY DANCE OF THE ADULT BOWERBIRD. (slyt)
posted by theodolite on Jan 24, 2015 - 30 comments

Birds on a wire

Birds on a wire....."One morning while reading a newspaper, Jarbas Agnelli saw a photograph of birds on an electric wire. He cut out the photo and was inspired to make a song using the exact location of the birds as musical notes. He was curious to hear what melody the birds created."
posted by HuronBob on Jan 13, 2015 - 27 comments

Sprouting feathers and lost teeth

"A remarkable international effort to map out the avian tree of life has revealed how birds evolved after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs into more than 10,000 species alive today. More than 200 scientists in 20 countries joined forces to create the evolutionary tree, which reveals how birds gained their colourful feathers, lost their teeth, and learned to sing songs." Via iO9.
posted by brundlefly on Dec 12, 2014 - 29 comments

Queer Birds

Birds, like quite a few other animals, can exhibit Gynandromorphism. Homosexual behavior in birds is also common. The phenomenon of avian spontaneous sex reversal has been well-documented, starting with Aristotle. Now modern researchers have uncovered yet another way in which birds are hacking sex roles: scientists think white-throated sparrows may actually be evolving a second pair of sex chromosomes.
posted by helpthebear on Nov 22, 2014 - 14 comments

Stink-eye? Or bored-eye? More like bird-eye: the shoebill's steady gaze

"A few days ago, my son, Lucas, and I took the train to Prague for his school break. Usually, when I visit a city, my first port of call is whatever passes for a botanical garden but when he told me that Prague’s zoo contained not only giant salamanders but also two pairs of shoebills, I could not resist the temptation..." (John Burnside's essay in The New Statesman.) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 20, 2014 - 4 comments

How Fake Fossils Pervert Paleontology

A nebulous trade in forged and illegal fossils is an ever-growing headache for paleontologists. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Menagerie Phantasmagoria

The fantastic animal sculptures of Ellen Jewett.
posted by cenoxo on Oct 26, 2014 - 4 comments

My outdoor beach cafe is on fire. Apparently. So relaxing!

White noise a little too stuffy? Nature sounds a little too outdoorsy? Wish Starbucks had a cricket infestation? Mix it up with a custom ambient noise generator!
posted by phunniemee on Oct 14, 2014 - 27 comments

Chicken or egg? There was no moment when a dinosaur became a bird.

A team of researchers, including University of Edinburgh paleontologist Stephen Brusatte and Swarthmore College Associate Professor of Statistics Steve C. Wang, cataloging 853 skeletal characteristics in 150 dinosaurs and analyzing the rate at which these characters change, and they found that "there was no grand jump between nonbirds and birds in morphospace." In other words, birds didn't suddenly come into existence, but evolved, bit by bit, or characteristic by characteristic. But when birds were finally a thing, they went crazy. "Once it came together fully, it unlocked great evolutionary potential that allowed birds to evolve at a super-charged rate."
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 29, 2014 - 37 comments

Paper birds

Diana Beltran Herrera sculpts beautiful birds out of paper. She's currently working on a series based on postage stamps; you can see some of the new birds on her Facebook page. [via]
posted by jacquilynne on Sep 29, 2014 - 12 comments

Why do migrating birds fly in a V formation?

"It was always assumed that V-formation flight was learned from the adult birds. But these guys are all the same age and they learned to fly from a human in a microlight. They learned V-formation flying from each other. National Geographic reports on some of the fascinating intricacies of the V formation observed in migrating birds.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 21, 2014 - 28 comments

And no birds sing

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles. The decline of birds might have something to do with this recent news that half the insects (and spiders, crustaceans, slugs, worms) are gone.
posted by sfenders on Aug 30, 2014 - 61 comments

Streamers in the solar flux

They saw "birds entering the solar flux and igniting, consequently become a streamer," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. BrightSource concentrated solar plant is a "mega-trap" for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays. Estimates range as high as one streamer every two minutes at a single plant, though this is disputed. A Federal report (PDF) is "occasionally gruesome".
posted by stbalbach on Aug 18, 2014 - 68 comments

Homosexuality Is For The Birds

Koryos, who previously explained how cats got domesticated using tumblr, now explains why homosexual pair-bonding can be a successful reproductive stratagem. Also, Coot Parenting Tips, Queen Cowbird Of The Brood Parasites , There's No Such Thing As An Alpha Wolf, and Can Animals Have Pets?
posted by The Whelk on Aug 16, 2014 - 9 comments

"Transmogrification event caused by incorporation of alien bacteria!!!"

Alien viruses from outer space and the great Archaeopteryx forgery [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 21, 2014 - 14 comments

An ornithologist, an editor, & a VP walk into a conference room...

"We ornithologists, with our Important Capitals, continue to look Curiously Provincial" : copy-editors and ornithologists fight a very pilkunnussija-esque war over conventions of bird names.
posted by divabat on Jul 12, 2014 - 15 comments

Birds with arms.

Does what it says on the tin.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Jul 7, 2014 - 33 comments

Moa's Ark

Moa’s Ark (1990) [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert on Jun 29, 2014 - 3 comments

Humming Along

Hummingbirds have been slow to give up their secrets, but slowly, we've learned to understand them.
Thanks to a certain resemblance to an insect, the hummingbird is known in French as “oiseau mouche” (fly bird). Its fondness for the calyxes of blossoms has inspired the Portuguese names “beija flor” (flower kisser) and “chupa flor” (flower sucker), and the related Spanish “pica flor” (flower poker). In other languages, hummingbirds are known as “Kolibri,” a word likely of Caribbean origin, or Trochilidae, their scientific name (which was provided by Carl Linnaeus and, curiously, seems to relate to a different bird — a type of kinglet called “trochilus” by the ancient Greeks). These inventive names reflect the wonder and enigma that surrounds these creatures and the peculiar abilities and proclivities that set them apart from other birds.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 20, 2014 - 38 comments

A story of miniature cryptography and a password protected home

Genius in a tiny mother bird, who learned to give her babies a password so they wouldn't die. A musical password. The Superb Fairy Wren sings to her eggs. The unborn baby birds, still in the egg, learn that musical password and sing it on being hatched.
posted by nickyskye on May 30, 2014 - 36 comments

you do not control a machine you embody a bird

Birdly: An Attempt to Fly. "‘Birdly’ is an installation which explores the experience of a bird in flight. It tries to capture the mediated flying experience, with several methods. [...] Visualized through HMD (Oculus Rift) the participant is embedded in a virtual landscape where his body is the body of a Red Kite. The whole scenery is perceived in the first person perspective of a bird. To intensify the embodiment we include additional sonic, olfactoric and wind feedback. Soundwise you perceive only the roaring of the wind and the flaps of the wings." [more inside]
posted by Drexen on May 8, 2014 - 19 comments

Condor Watch

Hunt the endangered California condor -- for science! [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Apr 15, 2014 - 9 comments

Ech!

Meet the majestic American WoodEch.
posted by Evilspork on Apr 14, 2014 - 12 comments

Charting climate change and local loss of flora from Thoreau's journals

From 1851 to 1858, Henry David Thoreau noted a number of natural occurrences in detail, including the first flowering dates for over 500 species of wildflowers in Concord. Additionally, Alfred Hosmer, a botanist in the same area, had recorded the flowering dates of over 600 species of wild plants in 1878 and from 1888 to 1902. With that data, Richard Primack, a biology professor at Boston University, and fellow researcher Abraham Miller-Rushing spent years aligning old plant names with current names to study the change flowering patterns from the recorded past to present. Their phenological study concluded that plants in Concord, on average, are now flowering 10 days earlier than they were in Thoreau's time (full article for the journal BioScience). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 25, 2014 - 3 comments

Then the game gets interesting again as you will be back to trains.

Crates in video games. (previously) Trains in video games. Birds in video games. Wall art in video games. Luchadores in video games. Foliage in video games. (previously) Logic in video games. Easter eggs (secret content) in video games. Normal eggs (and other food) in video games. Toilets in video games. Improved women's armor in video games (slightly NSFW). (previously) Bears in video games. Mickey Mouse in video games. Love in video games.
posted by Evilspork on Mar 18, 2014 - 21 comments

"We had an office full of people sitting with our jaws on the table..."

"I had heard about this film through various channels off and on through the years. It had gotten to the point where it was almost apocryphal in my mind.... Nobody knew where it was, nobody had ever seen it, but I was aware it existed. It was like the holy grail." said Wayne Petersen, director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas program for Mass. Audubon on the archival footage of the extinct heath hen discovered, restored and premiering at the Mass Audubon Birders Meeting this month. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Mar 12, 2014 - 20 comments

Western Digs: Dispatches from the Ancient American West

Western Digs is a source for "dispatches from the American ancient West." Posts are sorted into three main categories: Dinosaurs & Ancient Life (Paleontology, split into Dinosars, The Ice Age, Birds and All Fossils), Prehistoric Americans (Archaeology, split into Ancient Southwest and The Mississippians [Cahokia]), and Modern Artifacts (Historic Archaeology, including the subset The 20th Century). If you're not sure where to start reading, here are Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013 and Western Digs’ Top 5 Archaeology Stories of 2013.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 30, 2014 - 5 comments

Random Togetherness

Dennis Hlynsky is a professor of film and animation at RISD whose most recent work, titled Small Brains on Mass, looks at bird behavior, particularly how they interact when flying in groups. To better understand how flying as a flock is achieved, Hlynsky filmed the birds and then stacked the images on the same frame for a set number of frames, the results show each bird’s flight as a trail, but synchronized with the flock. The results are often pure poetry. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jan 25, 2014 - 12 comments

An irruption of owls

Snowy owls are irrupting across the upper Midwest and down the East Coast as far as the Carolinas in what could be the largest such irruption in at least 20 years. They're here because there were a lot of lemmings in the Arctic last year, and so snowy owls made a lot of snowy owls. This year? Not so many lemmings, and so many of them have come south in search of food. [more inside]
posted by rtha on Jan 24, 2014 - 50 comments

This right here appears to be my bird

A few years ago, Ed made a friend. A Snowy Egret. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Jan 18, 2014 - 11 comments

#Tweets

Minnesota Birdsong: An interactive poster Cute interface with birdsong content provided by the always amazing Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
posted by Miko on Jan 14, 2014 - 12 comments

Birds of the West Indies

Birds of the West Indies. Artist Taryn Simon (previously, previously, previously) has a work of photographs of James Bond's gadgets, guns, cars, and women. The work is currently showing at this year's Carnegie International, and has an accompanying book. Info at the main link, and a more thorough gallery here.
posted by Capt. Renault on Jan 5, 2014 - 4 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Emu Tango

The Emus and Sexy Sexy Sniper the Ostrich dance the tango against their greatest enemy: The weasel ball.
posted by bobobox on Dec 4, 2013 - 40 comments

Operation Migration

Operation Migration has helped endangered bird species migrate by leading the way with ultralight aircraft. At the moment you can see a live video of them in flight.
posted by exogenous on Nov 29, 2013 - 6 comments

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