Study Examines Songs of Babbler Resembles Human-Like Communication Patterns | Pioneer News

Bird songs might seem to be strings of somewhat meaningless tweets and twitters and whistles but a new study published in the Open Access journal PLOS Biology note that some babbler birds can communicate with each other using these sounds in a way similar to that of humans.“This is the first time that the capacity to generate new meaning from rearranging meaningless elements has been shown to exist outside of humans,” explains study co-author Simon Townsend with the University of Zurich.

via Study Examines Songs of Babbler Resembles Human-Like Communication Patterns | Pioneer News.

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Global seabird decline greater than expected › News in Science (ABC Science)

The global seabird population may have fallen by almost 70 per cent since 1950, a new study suggests.

The study, published recently in PLOS ONE, analysed data on 162 species, representing 19 per cent of the global seabird population.

They found the population of those species had declined overall by 69.7 per cent between 1950 and 2010.

“It’s an awful lot,” says co-author ecologist Dr Edd Hammill of the University of Technology, Sydney.

via Global seabird decline greater than expected › News in Science (ABC Science).

Bird of the Month | BirdLife

In years gone by, the White Ibis that occurs in Australia was considered to be the same species as the birds that were worshipped as Sacred Ibis in ancient Egypt. The Australian White Ibis is now recognised as a separate species, and peoples attitudes towards the species have become a little less reverential. In regional areas they (and Straw-necked Ibis) are sometimes known as the farmers friend, due to their habit of flocking into areas afflicted by plagues of locusts to gorge on the ravaging hordes of insects. Although they are certainly not worshipped in the shires, they are nevertheless appreciated. In urban areas, however, where many Ibis scrounge for a living by scavenging at rubbish tips, and their plumage becomes soiled by refuse, they are sometimes disparagingly referred to as tip turkeys.

via Bird of the Month | BirdLife.

Little bird’s migration reaches ‘brink of impossibility’ › News in Science (ABC Science)

The blackpoll warbler accomplishes a mighty big feat for such a little bird.

Scientists have documented how Setophaga striata, which weighs just 12 grams, completes an arduous nonstop flight over the Atlantic Ocean from New England and eastern Canada to the Caribbean islands as it migrates each autumn toward its South American wintering grounds.

By placing miniature backpacks with geolocators on the birds, the researchers determined they flew an average of nearly 2540 kilometres over two to three days.

“No other bird this size migrates for this long in one go. It is truly one of the most amazing migratory feats ever recorded,” says ecologist Ryan Norris of the University of Guelph in Ontario.

via Little bird’s migration reaches ‘brink of impossibility’ › News in Science (ABC Science).

Feeding wild birds ruffles species balance › News in Science (ABC Science)

Backyard feeding of wild birds can decrease native species while boosting introduced species, new research suggests.

The findings, from the longest-running study of its kind, are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“In New Zealand, over two out of five houses feed birds daily, so the scale of feeding is huge,” says Josie Galbraith, a PhD student in biological sciences, at the University of Auckland.

“In a previous study we estimated that over five million loaves of bread are being fed to birds every year.”

via Feeding wild birds ruffles species balance › News in Science (ABC Science).

Little Aussie bird cries wolf to fool a predator › News in Science (ABC Science)

When you hear the call of a fairy wren, honeyeater or crimson rosella in the Australian bush, you may not see the bird you’re expecting.

The little brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) protects its young by using vocal mimicry to trick its predator into thinking that they themselves are under attack, researchers have found.

It does this by mimicking a chorus of other species’ alarm calls that are normally used to warn of an approaching hawk, according to a study published in today’s Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

“Simulating a chorus of alarm calling species is scarier than producing your own alarm calls alone,” says ornithologist Dr Branislav Igic, of the University of Akron in Ohio.

“It more reliably signals a very scary predator.”

via Little Aussie bird cries wolf to fool a predator › News in Science (ABC Science).

Researchers seek more clues about birds’ migration path

It was like finding a needle in a haystack — if the haystack could be anywhere in about 17 countries.

A Golden-winged Warbler captured by Michigan Technological University bird researcher Amber Roth on Jan. 25 had a small, silver band around its tiny leg. From its markings Roth learned the bird had been banded by a Rockford University researcher at a forest preserve in Illinois last Sept. 2. Roth, at the time, was at a private reserve created for Golden-winged Warblers on a coffee plantation in northern Nicaragua.

via Researchers seek more clues about birds’ migration path.

Birds of Australia key plants: Bottlebrush Callistemon […]

There is a whole family of shrubs/trees called Callistemon, or Bottlebrush. These trees/shrubs with dense foliage are a valuable source of nectar, when flowering. Several types of honeyeaters feed on their nectar. Some small parrots/lorikeets will take either nectar or the budding flowers too. Having dense foliage, bottlebrushes are also popular with some bird species for nesting. Bottlebrushes are often found in heath or along often sandy creekbeds.

via Birds of Australia key plants: Bottlebrush Callistemon […].

Ptarmigan May Be Tops in Adapting to Winter Weather | Audubon Magazine

What’s brown and black but white all winter? The ptarmigan is unique among birds for molting into snow-white plumes for half the year. In fact the three species of ptarmigan—rock, willow, and white-tailed—may be among the best-adapted birds for surviving the frigid winter temperatures of northern climes and high elevations.

Like other critters that live in snowy places, including the ermine and the Arctic fox, the ptarmigan’s gray-brown summer garb transforms into a brilliant bright white each year when the snow begins to fall. (Technically, the white-tailed and rock ptarmigan have black outer tail feathers, but they’re barely visible under most circumstances.)

via Ptarmigan May Be Tops in Adapting to Winter Weather | Audubon Magazine.

Pelicans under threat from Menindee Lakes water releases – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Dying pelicans on the Menindee Lakes shores are a new worry for locals amid large releases of water downstream.The Murray Darling Basin Authority has stepped up its water releases from the Menindee Lakes system over summer, to meet demands of river users downstream.

via Pelicans under threat from Menindee Lakes water releases – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation.