Sound Engineering for Birds

Sound engineering for the birds reported in New Scientist, 12 January 2002, p12. Scientists from the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Etholgy in Vienna recorded the songs of different species of Venezuelan Ant-birds and played them back at different heights above ground. They measured how fast the song faded and how well it could be […]

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Seed Germination Problem

Seed germination problem solved reports New Scientist 12 June 2004, p17. Scientists who have been trying to propagate the Javan ash tree, a rare rainforest tree from northern Australia and southeast Asia, have found the secret of success – a cassowary’s digestive system. Cassowaries are large flightless birds that live in the rainforests where they […]

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Seagulls Inspire Spy Planes

Seagulls inspire spy planes, according to an article in BBC News, 27 August 2005. Aerospace engineer Rick Lind and a team of researchers at the University of Florida are developing small unmanned aircraft that can manoeuvre through urban environments where they must avoid numerous obstacles, such as poles and trees, and fly through confined spaces […]

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Rapid Evolution of Finches

Rapid evolution of finches observed, claims evolutionary biologist David Reznick of the University of California, Riverside, commenting on a study of finch adaptation reported in Science, vol. 295, p25, 11 Jan 2002. Ecologists at Auburn University Alabama, studied two populations of house finches that had recently moved into new habitats. One group of birds moved […]

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Putting Feet in Mud

Putting feet in mud shows “dinosaurs and birds are different.” A study reported in Nature vol. 399, pp103-104, 141-144 comparing fossil dinosaur footprints with those produced by present day birds running through mud, showed that birds run by moving their knees, with little movement of the hip and ankle and keep their ankles off the […]

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Problem Solving Kiwi Parrots

Problem solving Kiwi parrots reported in New Scientist 14 August 2010, p18 and Animal Cognition online doi: 10.1007/s10071-010-0342-9. Kea parrots are a New Zealand bird with a well-earned reputation as aggressive inquisitive thieves. A group of scientists led by Hiromitsu Miyata of Kyoto University trained Keas to obtain food by removing a metal rod from […]

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Pollination Perch

Pollination perch described in a report in Nature, vol. 435, p41, 5 May 2005. Bruce Anderson of the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa and colleagues have investigated “the curious sterile inflorescence axis” on a plant named Nectarinia famosa, commonly known as the rat’s tail plant because of a large spike that projects from the base […]

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Pigeons Fly Like Helicopters

Pigeons fly like helicopters, according to articles in ScienceShots and PNAS 28 November 2011. A team of biologists and engineers have made high speed videos of pigeons to see how birds change direction whilst in flight. They filmed the birds making right angle turns and calculated the aerodynamic forces generated. They found these birds generated […]

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Pigeon DNA Proves Darwin Right

“Pigeon DNA proves Darwin right” claims Nature News 31 January 2013 in a genetic study of pigeon breeds also reported in ScienceNOW 31 January 2013. Charles Darwin spent many years breeding many varieties of pigeons, and wrote about them in Origin of Species. According to Nathan Young, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, […]

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King Size Fossil Penguin

King size fossil penguin found, according to reports in BBC News, ScienceDaily and ScienceNOW 30 September 2010. A group of scientists from USA and Peru have found the fossil of a giant penguin in rocks dated at 36 million years old in a nature reserve in Peru. Penguins are usually thought of as inhabiting the […]

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