Each autumn as many birds begin epic journeys to warmer climates, there are always some species that stay put for the winter. These winter birds have a better chance of maintaining their territory year-round, and they avoid the hazards of migration. But in exchange they have to endure the cold.
Like us, birds are warm blooded, which means their bodies maintain a constant temperature, often around 106 degrees Fahrenheit. To make enough heat, and maintain it, they\’ve evolved many different strategies–some similar to our own.
via How Birds Cope With Cold in Winter | Audubon Magazine.
INDONESIAN military officials caught trying to smuggle galahs and parrots on a plane Australia had gifted the island nation were allegedly let off because customs staff deemed it \”government-related\”.
A Sydney bird store owner who on Wednesday sold the galahs to the Indonesians last night made the claim after an Indonesian national received only a warning when caught trying to leave the country in a decommissioned C-130 Hercules aircraft.
via Galahgate: Indonesian bird nappers fly free as Tony Abbott refuses to ruffle feathers | thetelegraph.com.au.
In spring, we often hear woodpeckers hard at work, carving out nest holes in tree trunks. And now that fall has arrived, we may hear that excavating sound again. Some woodpecker species stay year round in the region where they nest, while others migrate south in winter. Those that remain, like this Pileated Woodpecker, are chiseling out roosting cavities, snug hollows where they’ll shelter during the cold nights of fall and winter.
via Woodpeckers Carve Out Roost Cavities, Too | BirdNote.
When male orange fairy-wrens are painted red, they are more likely to be successful at mating with females other than their usual partner, a new study has found.Daniel Baldassarre, from Cornell University, and colleagues, report their findings today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.”Females in the population had a very strong reaction to the red males and really preferred them as extra-pair partners,” says Baldassarre, who carried out the research for his PhD.
via Painted fairy-wrens quite the casanova › News in Science ABC Science.
Queensland free range egg producers can now stock up to 10,000 birds per hectare if they meet a number of welfare conditions.The previous limit had been 1,500 laying hens per hectare, an area roughly the size of a rugby field.Biosecurity Queensland says the change will allow the state’s farmers to compete fairly in the national marketplace where other states already allowed for increased stocking densities.
via Queensland lifts free range chook stocking rate – ABC Rural Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Penguins lost their ability to fly millions of years ago, and now a new study explains why – the birds became lean and mean diving machines, trading flight for such skills.
The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points out that good flippers don’t fly very well.
“Once penguins gave up flight, changes to wing structure and overall body size and shape probably followed rapidly because flying no longer placed constraints to body form,” co-author Robert Ricklefs says.
via Why penguins lost their wings › News in Science (ABC Science).
“Someday, son, this will all be yours.”We imagine it’s a common taunt on chicken playgrounds: “Your father is a DUCK!” I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Ducks are gross. But for one brand-new baby chick at Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, it’s just the honest truth. Researchers there have announced the birth of a chicken that was fathered by a duck, in a technique that could represent new hope for extinct species.
via Baby chicken whose father is a duck is either a new hope for extinct species or a sign of the End Times | Grist.
The number of blackcaps visiting our feeders in winter has increased fourfold since the 1970s, according to the British Trust for Ornithology. This may not appear to be interesting news – birds adapt all the time and the last 10 years has seen an increase in the number of goldfinches, long-tailed tits and, more recently, bullfinches visiting our gardens to take advantage of the food we put out for them. But blackcaps are supposed to be in Spain at this time of year.
via Blackcaps: a new winter visitor to our gardens | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.
Springtime is no laughing matter for kookaburra chicks as they fight for survival in the family nest.
By Rachel Sullivan
King of the bush: laughing kookaburras are iconic Australians (Source: iStockphoto)
Audio: Laughing kookaburra call
The kookaburra’s familiar laugh is taking on a softer, more intimate note as the spring breeding season gets into full swing. But their cheery call and rich family life also hide a darker side: in a grim battle for resources hatchlings fight to the death, watched over by their mother.
The largest members of the kingfisher family, kookaburras are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Australia is home to two of the four species: the colourful northern blue-winged kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) which is found in the country’s north, as far south as Broome on the west coast and Brisbane on the east; and the iconic laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), which is found all along the east coast, from the Eyre Peninsula to Cape York.
via Kooaaa! It’s a kookaburra! › Nature Features (ABC Science).