Birds in the News

We may not notice but birds are everywhere in the news almost everyday. On the radio, television, magazines, internet, and social media we find references to birds.newspaper-152320_960_720

From Audubon, this :”Four years ago, thousands of Snowy Owls stormed the northern United States, taking up

Snowy_Owl_Barrow_Alaska birds

posts in surroundings drastically different from the flat Arctic tundra over which they typically preside. Some whiled away the hours peering at dog walkers from suburban fences; one learned to hunt around a Minnesota brewery with mouse pro

blems. In a typical winter, around 10 Snowies visit Pennsylvania, but in 2013 the state was graced by 400. They were part of the largest Snowy Owl irruption, or influx of a species into a place they don’t usually live, the U.S. has seen since the 1920s.

If you missed it, you might be in luck. Project SNOWstorm, a volunteer-fueled Snowy Owl-tracking organization founded after that irruption, predicts another wave of Arctic raptors will hit North America this winter, according to their most recent blog post.”

From LiveScience: “Behold the ocellated turkey: a regal-looking bird with iridescent feathers, a blue face, and cranberry-like bumps of red and orange on its head.

You won’t find the ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) on any Thanksgiving plates, but that’s probably for the best. The tropical bird is “near threatened” in its native home in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, northern Belize and northern Guatemala, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

“They’re absolutely gorgeous,” said John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. “The colors, they leave our [North American] turkey in the dust.” [10 Terrific Turkey Facts]

The ocellated turkey belongs to the same genus as the North American wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), but the colorful bird is a different species. “It looks superficially like our turkey, but it is quite different in color, behavior and habitat,” Fitzpatrick told Live Science.

 

Island birds possess bigger brains than those from the mainland. Aug 1, 2018

Birds that live on oceanic islands have bigger brains than their mainland counterparts, according to findings published yesterday in

New Zealand Tomtit

Nature Communications.

Researchers analysed the sizes of 11,554 brains belonging to 1,931 bird species. Island living can be isolating, forcing birds to problem-solve and develop larger brains. The differences in brain size between island and mainland birds may arise from evolution and may not be an indicator of colonization success, the researchers report.

F. Sayol et al., “Predictable evolution towards larger brains in birds colonizing oceanic islands,” Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05280-8, 2018.

Crows are maligned as scavengers that torment their dead brethren. Portrayed as aerial killers in the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock classic, “The Birds.”

In France, though, the wily crow is getting a makeover. Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Loire region about four hours from Paris, has trained six crows to pick up cigarette butts and bits of trash and dump them in a box.

Mon Dieu! Are the pigeons of Paris next?

Not likely. The theme park’s owners would rather have humans properly dispose of their own candy wrappers and cigarettes. The crows are part of an educational campaign to prompt the ecologically minded to take their rubbish with them.

“We want to educate people not to throw their garbage on the ground,” said Nicolas de Villiers, the president of Puy du Fou. That is especially true of smokers who casually flick lit cigarettes and extinguish them with the tips of their shoes. As Mr. de Villiers put it, if crows can be schooled to pick up trash, why can’t humans? NYTimes August 2018

 

Sites Carrying News About Birds

Audubon Bird News
Birding News
Bird News
Birds NewsBirdlife International
Brome Bird News
eBird
Huffington Post
ICUN
Independent News
Live Science
MSNBC
Natural News
New York Times Bird Stories Archive
Neuroscience News
Science Daily