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Birds Current Events and Birds News from Brightsurf

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Welfare of zoo animals set to improve

Mon, 18 Sep 17 00:03:00 -0700

The wellbeing of zoological animals is set to improve following the successful trial of a new welfare assessment grid, a new study in the journal Veterinary Record reports.

When it comes to the threat of extinction, size matters

Mon, 18 Sep 17 00:16:10 -0700

Animals in the Goldilocks zone -- neither too big, nor too small, but just the right size -- face a lower risk of extinction than do those on both ends of the scale, according to an extensive global analysis.

New research suggests bird songs isolate species

Wed, 13 Sep 17 00:03:40 -0700

Two birds that look the same, but have songs so different they can't recognize each other, should be considered distinct species, suggests new research. Among 72 related populations of Central and South American birds the researchers tested, they found evidence for 21 new species.

Song experiments reveal 21 possible new tropical bird species

Wed, 13 Sep 17 00:10:10 -0700

Birds often choose their mates based on song, making it a key factor in separating species. However, analyzing spectrograms can only tell us so much -- the characteristics that birds hone in on when identifying potential mates may not be the same ones scientists notice in audio recordings. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses field experiments to 'ask the birds themselves' and uncovers as many as 21 previously unrecognized species.

Ornithologists at Yelabuga Institute share details of their latest work

Tue, 12 Sep 17 00:15:00 -0700

Bird Protection and Monitoring Lab was established at the Yelabuga Institute in 2014. Its head is Rinur Bekmansurov, member of the Russian Bird Conservation Union, coordinator of the ringing of raptors at the Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network, member of the Tatarstan Red Book Commission.

Scientists track the brain-skull transition from dinosaurs to birds

Mon, 11 Sep 17 00:16:00 -0700

The dramatic, dinosaur-to-bird transition that occurred in reptiles millions of years ago was accompanied by profound changes in the skull roof of those animals -- and holds important clues about the way the skull forms in response to changes in the brain -- according to a new study. It is the first time scientists have tracked the link between the brain's development and the roofing bones of the skull.

Birds' unique skulls linked to young dinosaur brains

Mon, 11 Sep 17 00:02:40 -0700

Bird skulls and brains look like those of young dinosaurs, providing clues to their unique evolution and modern success.

Young birds suffer in the city

Fri, 08 Sep 17 00:14:30 -0700

City life is tough for young birds. But if they survive their first year, they are less susceptible to the effects of stress, according to research from Lund University in Sweden.

Birds are on the move in the face of climate change

Thu, 07 Sep 17 00:07:50 -0700

Research on birds in northern Europe reveals that there is an ongoing considerable species turnover due to climate change and due to land use and other direct human influences.

Australian Magpie 'dunks' its food before eating, researchers find

Thu, 07 Sep 17 00:13:50 -0700

Scientists at the University of York, in collaboration with researchers at Western Sydney University, have shown that the Australian Magpie may 'dunk' its food in water before eating, a process that appears to be 'copied' by its offspring.

Curious properties

Thu, 07 Sep 17 00:04:40 -0700

A murmuration of starlings. The phrase reads like something from literature or the title of an arthouse film. In fact, it is meant to describe the phenomenon that results when hundreds, sometimes thousands, of these birds fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky.

Will mallards hybridize their cousins out of existence?

Wed, 06 Sep 17 00:03:30 -0700

Mallards -- the familiar ducks of city parks -- are one of a group of closely related species, many of which are far less common. Interbreeding can threaten the genetic distinctiveness of those other species and cause concern for their conservation. A new study investigates hybridization between mallards and mottled ducks, a species adapted for life in coastal marshes, and finds that while hybridization rates are currently low, human activity could cause them to rise in the future.

'Bee' informed: Public interest exceeds understanding in bee conservation

Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:01:10 -0700

Many people have heard bee populations are declining due to such threats as colony collapse disorder, pesticides and habitat loss. And many understand bees are critical to plant pollination. Yet, according to a study led by Utah State University ecologist Joseph Wilson, few are aware of the wide diversity of bees and other pollinators beyond such species as honeybees. Because conservation efforts require substantial public support, outreach is needed to help people understand bee declines and how to protect pollinators.

California Academy of Sciences assembles genome of threatened northern spotted owl

Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:04:40 -0700

A charismatic owl iconic to Pacific Coast forests is no longer ruling the roost, and scientists now have another tool for understanding its decline. Researchers have assembled the California Academy of Sciences' first-ever animal genome after sequencing the DNA of the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). Academy scientists and collaborators extensively mapped the bird's genetic material to better understand how this threatened forest dweller is interacting with non-native owls invading its habitat.

Birds choose mates with ornamental traits

Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:11:50 -0700

A recurring theme in nature documentaries is that of choosy females selecting brightly colored males. A new study shows that, in monogamous mating systems, male birds may select their lifelong mates in much the same way.

Getting hook bending off the hook

Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:03:10 -0700

Bending of a hook into wire to fish for the handle of a basket by crow Betty 15 years ago stunned the scientific world. Cognitive biologists from the University of Vienna and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna studied tool making in an Indonesian cockatoo. Other than crows, cockatoos are not using tools in the wild. The birds manufactured hook tools out of straight wire without ever having seen or used a hook tool before.

High-flying ducks cross Himalayas

Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:03:00 -0700

A high-flying duck species reaches altitudes of up to 6,800 meters (22,000 feet) to cross the Himalayas, new research shows.

Cleanliness is next to sexiness for golden-collared manakins in Panama

Fri, 01 Sep 17 00:06:20 -0700

Juvenile male Golden-collared Manakins on extra testosterone cleaned up their display area before performing for females, according to research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama published in Animal Behavior. Female manakins got more aggressive when given testosterone.

Songbird study shows how estrogen may stop infection-induced brain inflammation

Thu, 31 Aug 17 00:08:50 -0700

New research by American University neuroscience Professor Colin Saldanha shows that estrogen synthesis, a process naturally occurring in the brains of zebra finches, may also fight off neuroinflammation caused by infection that occurs elsewhere in the body.

Some birds better than others at adjusting to habitat degradation

Wed, 30 Aug 17 00:14:50 -0700

Before habitat degradation begins to cause population declines, the first response by wildlife usually comes in the form of behavioral changes -- for example, switching their diets in response to changes in food availability. A new study looks at the diets of seed-eating birds in a South American desert and finds that while some can switch between seed types when grazing alters local plant communities, others continue to stick to old favorites, limiting their options.

Sense of smell is key factor in bird navigation, new study shows

Tue, 29 Aug 17 00:04:20 -0700

How do birds navigate over long distances? This complex question has been the subject of debate and controversy among scientists for decades, with Earth's magnetic field and the bird's own sense of smell among the factors said to play a part. Now, researchers from the universities of Oxford, Barcelona and Pisa have shown in a new experiment that olfaction -- or sense of smell -- is almost certainly a key factor in long-distance oceanic navigation, eliminating previous misgivings about this hypothesis.

Bahamian songbirds disappeared during last glacial-interglacial transition

Tue, 29 Aug 17 00:09:50 -0700

Two species of songbirds that once made a home in the Bahamas likely became extinct on the islands because of rising sea levels and a warmer, wetter climate, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Florida, Gainesville. The study, which was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presents a historical view of how climate change and the resulting habitat loss can affect Earth's biodiversity.

Mimicking birdsongs

Mon, 28 Aug 17 00:04:40 -0700

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a simple device that mimics complex birdsongs. The device uses air blown through a stretched rubber tube to recreate birdsongs found in nature, including the songs of zebra and Bengalese finches.

A Galápagos seabird's population expected to shrink with ocean warming

Fri, 25 Aug 17 00:05:10 -0700

Within the next century, rising ocean temperatures around the Galápagos Islands are expected to make the water too warm for a key prey species, sardines, to tolerate. A new study by Wake Forest University biologists, published in PLOS One Aug. 23, uses decades of data on the diet and breeding of a tropical seabird, the Nazca booby, to understand how the future absence of sardines may affect the booby population.

New dinosaur discovery suggests new species roosted together like modern birds

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:30 -0700

The Mongolian Desert has been known for decades for its amazing array of dinosaurs, immaculately preserved in incredible detail and in associations that give exceedingly rare glimpses at behavior in the fossil record.

Countries in Europe with the richest biodiversity do not always receive more funding

Wed, 23 Aug 17 00:14:50 -0700

A recent study, published in the journal Conservation Biology, reveals that the investments and resources allotted for conservation only partially tally with the levels of biodiversity in the European Union. Thus, countries such as Portugal, Slovakia, Greece and the Czech Republic receive less funding than they would be entitled to as per their biodiversity.

Wing shape helps swifts glide through storms, study suggests

Wed, 23 Aug 17 00:02:20 -0700

They are among nature's best fliers, spending most of their time in flight ... now scientists have shed new light on how swifts can glide with ease, whatever the weather.

Epigenetics may explain how Darwin's finches respond to rapid environmental change

Wed, 23 Aug 17 00:13:40 -0700

Epigenetics may explain how Darwin's finches respond to rapid environmental changes, according to new research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Climate change and habitat conversion combine to homogenize nature

Fri, 18 Aug 17 00:01:30 -0700

Climate change and habitat conversion to agriculture are working together to homogenize nature, indicates a study in the journal Global Change Biology led by the University of California, Davis. In other words, the more things change, the more they are the same.

Virus with an eggshell

Fri, 18 Aug 17 00:05:50 -0700

Avian flu can be transmitted from birds to humans; transmission among humans, however, is limited. The reason may be an eggshell-like mineral layer that the virus acquires due to the high calcium concentration in the intestines of birds. As reported by Chinese researchers in the journal Angewandte Chemie, these mineralized viruses are significantly more infectious and, in addition, more robust and heat stable than the native viruses.

Reed warblers have a sense for magnetic declination

Thu, 17 Aug 17 00:09:00 -0700

Researchers recently showed that migratory reed warblers depend on an internal geomagnetic map to guide them on their long-distance journeys. But it wasn't clear how the birds were solving the difficult 'longitude problem,' determining where they were along the east-west axis and which way to go. The team's latest report published in Current Biology shows birds rely on changes from east to west in magnetic declination, the angular difference between geographic north and magnetic north.

Bird-brained? Not at all: Reed warblers reveal a magnetic map

Thu, 17 Aug 17 00:08:10 -0700

Writing in the current issue of Current Biology an international team of biologists, including Richard Holland and Dmitri Kishkiniev of Bangor University, UK, explain how they identified for the first time, that mature reed warblers are able to detect the declination from magnetic north, and use the scale of the declination or change from true north to geolocate themselves to a longitude, from which they orient themselves towards their autumnal migration from Russia to Africa.

Blood biopsy test reads platelets to detect human lung cancer

Mon, 14 Aug 17 00:02:50 -0700

Researchers in the Netherlands have designed a different approach to the liquid biopsy. Rather than looking for evidence of cancer DNA or other biomarkers in the blood, their test (called thromboSeq) could diagnose non-small cell lung cancer with close to 90 percent accuracy by detecting tumor RNA absorbed by circulating platelets, also known as thrombocytes. Non-small cell lung cancers make up the majority of lung cancer cases. The research appears Aug. 14 in Cancer Cell.

Jackdaws flap their wings to save energy

Fri, 11 Aug 17 00:03:10 -0700

For the first time, researchers have observed that birds that fly actively and flap their wings save energy. Biologists at Lund University in Sweden have now shown that jackdaws minimize their energy consumption when they lift off and fly, because the feathers on their wing tips create several small vortices instead of a single large one. The discovery could potentially be applied within the aeronautical industry.