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birds

  1. High-Speed Cameras Create Beautiful Slow-Motion Bird Videos for Science

    Birds: How do they work?

    We know birds can fly, because they do, but we don't know much about how they fly. It probably has something to do with their wings. Part of the problem with studying birds is that they move much faster than we do. That's why students at Stanford University have been using high-speed video cameras to capture slow motion video of birds in flight. The resulting video is really quite beautiful.

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  2. Seagulls May Be Killing Dozens of Baby Whales Off the Coast of Argentina

    Seagull attacks can disrupt the feeding habits of young whales, causing them to slowly starve, researchers hypothesize.

    Last year, researchers found 116 dead right whales in the waters off of Argentina -- all but three of them calves, or immature whales. That marked a startling doubling of whale casualties in the area the year before, and some researchers think they know what is killing the whales -- legions of seagulls who dive bomb the huge animals as they're surfacing for air, making a meal of the whales' nutritious blubber and leaving the aquatic mammals with gashes in their hides up to four inches deep.

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  3. Monday Cute: Bird Sings Totoro Theme to Piano Accompanyment

    it's time to play the music

    Do you think Poko the Cockatiel would like to be a guest soloist with my a capella group?

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  4. How the Chicken Lost Its Penis

    A Current Biology study published this week explains how evolution left most bird species penis-free.

    Researchers have long wondered why evolution robbed many bird species -- like the chicken -- of a piece of anatomy considered pretty key in most of the breeding we're familiar with -- the penis. A new study of a wide range of birds has revealed a key gene that stymies penis growth in males and suggests a few reasons that nixing the penis could be evolutionarily advantageous for the animals, though it does make calling a male rooster a cock among the crueler jokes in the history of time.

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  5. Extinct Solitaire Birds Wings No Good for Flying, Great at Punching

    Solitaire birds battled one another with knobs of bone that could grow as large as a ping-pong ball.

    Julian Hume and Lorna Steel of the Natural History Museum did some digging and found that these famously aggro animals -- about whom little is known -- and found that the giant, flightless pigeons did have a use for their wings after all -- as potentially deadly weapons sporting bone growths as large as ping-pong balls. Covered in a layer of thick skin, these bones would have acted as boxing gloves of sorts for the birds during battles over mates.

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  6. Carl Zimmer Explains Where Feathers Come From in Latest TED-Ed Animation [Video]

    Folks, can we talk about these TED-Ed videos? Because they are becoming some of my favorite things. In this magnificently animated piece, science writer Carl Zimmer waxes poetic on the aesthetic and engineering feats that make feathers so incredible before delivering a point by point walkthrough of what we know about how feathers evolved -- and what we don't. This lesson in how modern birds developed from ancient dinosaurs more or less the perfect thing to distract you from work today, and come on -- it's not like you're here because you desperately want to get things done.

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  7. These Little Birds Squawk to Attract Predators, Blackmail Their Parents for Food

    As was pointed out in The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalypse a hungry, crying baby is likely going to attract the undead and put everyone in serious danger. Similarly -- though in less apocalyptic circumstance -- the loud squawks of a hungry young pied babbler can blackmail the baby bird's parents into feeding it pronto, before predators also hear their cries. This will be a scenario familiar to anyone who has been exposed to the phenomenon of 'Italian guilt' in their lifetime: "Hey, if you don't come feed me quick, I guess maybe you want predators to eat me. No, it's fine. I guess you can always have more babies."

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  8. Getting This Close-Up of a Cassowary May Be Photography’s Most Dangerous Game

    In the wilds of Australia and New Guinea, there is a dinosaur-like bird that probably wants to hurt you.  It's probably thinking about it right now, in fact.  To be fair, it's only because it assumes you want to tangle with it -- which you totally don't. But in the name of conservation, some are willing to. Photographer Christian Ziegler risked life and limb to photograph the Southern cassowary in Black Mountain Road, Australia. It's even won him the top award in the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year.

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  9. Thieves Steal Emu From Australian Wildlife Park, Leave Staff More Confused Than Angry

    Staff at Australia's Featherdale Wildlife Park are scratching their heads over the recent theft of one of their emus. How the bird burglars carried a bird the size of a small ostrich over an electrified barbed wire fence in the dead of night while avoiding a guard and security camera is one good question, but there's an even better one -- why would anyone steal an emu in the first place?

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  10. Killer Kitties: United Kingdom House Cats Threaten Local Bird Populations

    In a recent survey from across the pond that may dampen the Internet's unwavering devotion for funny felines, scientists have concluded that domestic cats in the United Kingdom are posing a serious threat to local bird populations, which has steadily declined over the years. Conservationists have since been trying to convince obstinate cat owners to be more mindful of their pet's hunting behavior and look into options that would prevent any more birds winding up dead on their doorsteps. If action to protect native bird species isn't taken soon, the U.K. is going to be known as the crazy cat lady of the world.

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