As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday 31 January 2015

Drive to rid Holyrood of pigeons ‘waste of time’

ANTI-pigeon measures at the Scottish Parliament are costing taxpayers almost £15,000 a year – with a hardcore flock of around 14 birds still nesting in the alcoves.

Pigeons have plagued the parliament for years. When the building first opened, muck and feathers were blown through vents on to researchers’ desks and some birds even got into MSPs’ ­offices. Nets, wires and spikes were installed in a bid to keep the birds away.

Birds of prey were introduced in 2009 with a strict “no kill” policy. Last year, the Evening News revealed laser pens were also being used to frighten the birds away, prompting warnings by experts that birds could be blinded by such measures.

Today, pigeon experts said the parliament was wasting money by paying for any more action against the birds.

Monthly reports to Holyrood by contractors NBC Bird and Pest Solutions say they find an average of 14 birds present each time they arrive for their early-morning visits.

Nagpur birder sights rare king vulture in Bor Reserve

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jan 4, 2015, 03.48AM IST

In a rare sighting, a king vulture, also known as red headed vulture, was sighted in Bor Tiger Reserve, 60km from here in Wardha district on Saturday.

NAGPUR: In a rare sighting, a king vulture, also known as red headed vulture, was sighted in Bor Tiger Reserve, 60km from here in Wardha district on Saturday.

At a time when vulture numbers have dwindled to almost a point of no return in the last 15 years, the sighting of a king vulture by wildlife enthusiast and photographer Narayan Malu has thrilled city bird lovers.

Malu was on a morning safari with his friend Viraj Kadbe and guide Kailash when he sighted the bird perched on a tree around 10am.

New Bird Species Discovered in 2014

A cryptic species of treehunter from northeastern Brazil, a small passerine bird from the Brazilian state Bahia and two tiny birds from Indonesia are among new species of birds described in the past year.

122 species of Colombian bird face extinction, says new report

Posted on: 05 Jan 2015

What is arguably the world's greatest avian hot-spot is rapidly losing habitat and birds despite its renown.

A new study, The State of the Birds in Colombia 2014 – produced by a leading conservation group in Colombia, Fundación ProAves – reports that decades of deteriorating ecosystem conditions have led to 122 of the country’s 1,903 bird species now facing extinction.

“Our findings are troubling because these deteriorating avian conditions are occurring in Colombia, an area viewed by many as perhaps the richest country for birds in the world,” said Alonso Quevedo, Executive Director of ProAves. “Of equal importance, these findings provide an important warning about threats to our water, air and other natural resources and suggest that the health of our environment has clearly diminished.”

Friday 30 January 2015

Burma tallies 1,114 bird species, 20 previously unrecorded

YANGON, Burma (AP) -€” Burmese bird enthusiasts have counted 1,114 bird species including 20 undocumented species between 2010 and 2014, seven of which are endemic to the country.

One of the surveyors, Thet Zaw Naing, said the Great Frigate and the Pied Falconet are among 20 previously undocumented birds spotted during the four-year field survey by the Bird and Nature Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Flora and Fauna International and several other bird-enthusiast associations.

Burlington Lake to become a wetland conservation area for aquatic birds



Posted on Jan 28, 2015

Burlington Lake at McManamen Park in Gillette may soon become a wetland bird conservation area.

It will be for the placement and relocation of aquatic birds displaced or lost near a commercial oil field wastewater disposal facility in Converse County.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Stunning rare North American bird spotted in Aberdeenshire

A stunning rare bird, hailing from the Arctic, has been spotted in Aberdeenshire.

The King Eider was spotted off St Combs on WednesdayThe beautiful drake King Eider was found off St Combs in Aberdeenshire, on Wednesday.
Described as one of North America’s most spectacular species, the King Eider forms large flocks during spring migration, sometimes exceeding 10,000 individuals, however, this duck appears to have been split from the flock.

Elsewhere a Ridgway’s Cackling Goose was spotted at Castle Kennedy near Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway.

The rare goose is native to North America. It breeds in northern Canada and Alaska in a variety of tundra habitats.

This Rare Bird Is Worth More Than Ivory to Poachers

By John R. Platt |
January 27, 2015 4:40 PM

Helmeted Hornbill.jpgThe poaching of elephants and rhinos gets a lot of well-deserved media attention, but the widespread slaughter of another species is flying under the radar.

According to an undercover operation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), poachers are increasingly targeting a rare bird called the helmeted hornbill. The beaks of these Southeast Asian birds are then carved into jewelry and trinkets and sold in China where they fetch prices five times higher than elephant ivory.

“The trade is definitely increasing, especially so in recent years,” said an EIA investigator who spoke anonymously out of fear for his safety. He reports that the quantity of helmeted hornbill products observed for sale “far exceeds published sightings of live helmeted hornbills in the wild.” All of the sales are illegal under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species and various national laws.

How do small birds survive cold winters?

January 27, 2015

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Norway's small birds face many challenges during the winter, including short days and long energy-intensive nights, tough weather conditions and food shortages, along with the risk of becoming a meal for hungry predators. 

Many of the smallest birds live on the edge of survival with this enormous physical pressure.

Bottleneck period
Northern winters are the limiting factor for many creatures. This is especially true for the smallest birds, which have to use every daylight minute to find food. They are constantly adjusting to shifts in weather and trying to fend off starvation.

Cold temperatures, strong winds and snow-covered branches increase the stress factors for birds that primarily reside in trees. The birds optimize their energy balance by changing location continuously depending on the weather.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Researchers Capture, Document First Northern Saw-whet Owl in Arkansas

Work will help scientists determine where the rare birds spend winter

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In late November, University of Arkansas wildlife biologists caught this bird, the first northern saw-whet owl captured in Arkansas.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Wildlife biologists at the University of Arkansas have captured and documented the first northern saw-whet owl in Arkansas.

Between 1959 and 2010, only a dozen sightings of this rare bird – much smaller than screech, barred or great horned owls – had been recorded in the state prior to the adult female recently captured by Kimberly Smith, University Professor of biological sciences, and Mitchell Pruitt, an Honors College undergraduate student majoring in crop, soil, and environmental sciences.

Using mist-nets, a technique that includes a fine-gauge, black nylon net to ensnare birds, the researchers captured and banded the owl at the Ozark Natural Science Center near Huntsville in late November. Alyssa DeRubeis, a naturalist and teacher at the center, assisted Smith and Pruitt, who had previously tried the method at other locations in Northwest Arkansas, including Devil’s Den State Park.

Woman Dies of Trauma from ‘Bird Debt Collector’

A Robert Sinyoka woman who was experiencing sleepless nights after a grey bird was sent from Tamandayi to demand payment of a debt she failed to pay as per stipulated time has died.

Theresa Mguni 38, who was a cross border trader and operator of five flea market bays in and around Bulawayo, died at her rural home after a struggle with trauma from a bird that kept her on her toes day and night.

Pastor Solomon Ncube of Christ for All Ministries told that they tried to assist Theresa but she did not commit herself to God opting to go to fake prophets who told her confusing and conflicting advice that haunted and caused her death.

Mguni met her fate after she travelled to South Africa last year to buy stock for her business, and this led to the beginning of the troubles that have been triggering shivers in her spine countless times.

According to her elder Sister Thembekile, the Cross-border trader died last week and was buried in the same village. “We are still worried if this war is over, as we do not know what to do if the saga continues,” she told off the camera.

Theresa was from SA to buy goods, when she stole bags which were packed with material for sale from across the border and sold the order before a dream came to her ordering her to return what “she stole”.

The late Mguni told before her death that, the dream kept coming until she sought divine intervention from prophets who warned her to look for the owner of the goods she had embezzled previously.

“I went back to Beit- Bridge and tried to look for the owners but that was to take me to another journey into the deep jungle in search of the owners of the goods I took. I am regretting the day I picked up what did not belong to me,” said Mguni in our previous interview.

She also told that she went to a village where she was directed by prophets and came across an old man in his 70s. She was told by the old man that he was waiting for her arrival weeks ago to return the stolen goods.

She was ordered to enter into a mutual agreement of paying the said amount which was calculated to $800 and she agreed.

According to Mguni before her death, sekuru gave her a small root that she said ‘I must take to SA and do another order and that the orders will double the charge he demanded’. The goods that Mguni took were also valued at $400 and she was to repay her debts money and also another $400 to sekuru.

Mguni went to SA and did what she was told to do and the deal went well, that she managed to acquire $1600, which she squandered and delayed to return to sekuru with the payment for both her victims and the old man.

A few days after she squandered the cash, in the morning when she was taking a bath, a bird arrived from nowhere and greeted her in the bathroom and it introduced itself as sekuru Nyandima.

Asked to shed more light about the bird, she told that the bird was still coming every time she is at her lodgings, a situation that fueled her death, before settling the debt.

Watch: Starlings swoop and loop in a breathtaking bird ballet

Welsh winter weather often involves descriptions of dark clouds forming over the fields, woodlands and reedbeds of Wales.

But these clouds filmed this week over Cardiff Bay are no ordinary clouds. They take your breath away!

Thousands of starlings come together at this time of year to provide one of the most breathtaking wildlife spectacles..

This congregation or murmuration was seen over the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

The reason for the extraordinary spectacle is not definitively known, with theories ranging from a defence mechanism against predators to attracting more birds to join their roost.

Parrot Pecking Order Hints at Humans' Social Lives

by Catherine Crawley, NIMBioS | January 28, 2015 01:25am ET

This ScienceLives article was provided to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Elizabeth Hobson's research has taken her to the remote fields of Argentina to study monk parakeets and also to the jungles of suburbia in the United States to study invasive populations in their feral ranges and in captivity. 

Today, as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, Hobson mines the data she has collected to investigate the social complexity of the parrots, as well as other species. She wants to know how animals think about their social worlds and what motivates their social interactions. 

Tuesday 27 January 2015


papal dove attackA papal tradition has come to a bizarre end. For years, popes have sent out white doves as a symbol of peace after an annual meeting with young people from the youth movement called Catholic Action.

The anticipated avian emissaries were replaced this year by a bunch of colored balloons, set afloat from the balcony of the papal apartments.

Last Sunday, Pope Francis approached the window of the Apostolic Palace accompanied by a boy and a girl belonging to two different Roman parishes, but when the moment came for the traditional launch of the doves, balloons were released instead of the birds.

The reason? Last January 27 was witness to a macabre incident. In an episode worthy of Alfred Hitchcock, as the Pope’s entourage released two white doves, they were violently set upon by a black crow and a seagull, to the horror of onlookers.

Indian myna birds could be getting more intelligent, Canberra bird action group says

666 ABC Canberra By Hannah Walmsley with Genevieve Jacobs

Posted about 10 hours agoTue 27 Jan 2015, 4:48am

A resurgence of the Indian myna bird population in Canberra could result from the birds outsmarting the community trapping program.

Canberra's Indian Myna Action Group president Bill Handke said that while the population of Indian mynas had been successfully controlled, the group had been forced to explore new trapping methods.

"We hear more stories now of mynas not going near traps and even, disturbingly, teaching their young not to go near traps," Mr Handke told 666 ABC Canberra.

"I suspect Indian myna birds have worked out traps are bad news."

The Indian myna bird is considered a pest, competing with native wildlife for food and habitat.

"The problems with Indian mynas is that [they] take over the hollows of nesting birds like the rosella and kookaburra and cockatoo," Mr Handke said.

"[They also] drive birds out of gardens and prey on small birds, their chicks, and eggs."

Indian myna numbers spiked in the mid 1990s with the species becoming the third-most common in Canberra.

A backyard trapping program formed in 2006 by the Canberra Myna Bird Action Group drastically reduced the number of the pest species.

Rescuers hope to release first batch of cleaned birds; mystery goo in SF Bay still unidentified

Rescuers hope to release first batch of cleaned birds; mystery goo in SF Bay still unidentified By Laura Dudnick @LauraDudnick

Wildlife rescue officials hope to release the first batch of seabirds contaminated by an unknown goo in San Francisco Bay.This week, wildlife rescue officials hope to release the first batch of seabirds contaminated by an unknown goo in San Francisco Bay earlier this month, though the identity and source of the sticky substance remains a mystery.

As of Monday, 247 birds – primarily surf scoters, horned grebes, scaups and common goldeneyes – were recovering at the International Bird Rescue center in Fairfield. Another 75 died either on the way to or at the center, bringing the total number of dead birds to more than 200 regionwide.

The birds were found primarily along the coastal East Bay region, though at least two were discovered in Foster City and another in Point Richmond.

Monday 26 January 2015

Rare duck thrives in EU protected areas

The Smew, a duck that is a rare visitor to the UK in winter, is doing twice as well as two decades ago within areas protected by EU wildlife laws, reports the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Scientists studied data from wetlands throughout Europe and found that as a result of climate change nearly a third of these ducks now spend winter in north-eastern Europe, compared to just 6 per cent 20 years ago.
And in that region, numbers of Smew within Special Protection Areas designated by the EU Birds Directive have grown twice as fast as those on unprotected sites.

WWT’s Head of Species Monitoring, Richard Hearn, says: “The EU’s network of protected areas is obviously helping Smew adapt to climate change.

“Most Special Protection Areas were designated around 20 years ago using the data that we had then. Things have changed dramatically in the natural world since then and we need to respond to help ensure that Smew and other waterbirds remain well protected.”

Rare pipits return following rat eradication on South Georgia

The world's most southerly song bird, the South Georgia Pipit, is fighting back from extinction thanks to work carried out by an 18-strong international team to eradicate rats from its island home in Antarctica.

Anthus antarcticus -South Georgia, British overseas territory-8.jpgJust as the final phase of the world’s largest rodent eradication project was being undertaken by UK charity, the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT), news came that a nest of five South Georgia Pipit chicks had been found in an area previously overrun by rats.

The South Georgia Pipit is only found on South Georgia and its numbers had been decimated by the invasive rat populations on the island. Its survival as a species was under threat before the eradication work began.

The discovery of the pipit nest was made at Schlieper Bay near the western end of the island by a former member of the rat eradication team, Sally Poncet, an expert on South Georgia’s wildlife and this year a recipient of the Polar Medal in recognition of service to the United Kingdom in the field of polar research.

Poncet was a member of what has been nicknamed Team Rat during its Phase 1 operations. She discovered the nest while on a Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris expedition (in collaboration with the Government of South Georgia) to survey Wandering Albatrosses.

Bad reputation of crows demystified

January 23, 2015

Plataforma SINC

In literature, crows and ravens are a bad omen and are associated with witches. Most people believe they steal, eat other birds' eggs and reduce the populations of other birds. But a new study, which has brought together over 326 interactions between corvids and their prey, demonstrates that their notoriety is not entirely merited. The study analyzed the impact of six species of corvid on a total of 67 species of bird susceptible to being their prey, among which are game birds and passerine birds.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Rare kingfisher birds in Wallsend Hall grounds delight birdwatchers

The brightly-coloured kingfisher birds appeared at the Wallsend Hall grounds during regeneration work

A pair of rare birds have been turning heads after making home at a North East park.

Visitors to the Wallsend Hall grounds have being enjoying the sight of the brightly-coloured kingfishers who have made their home in the area.

Parks manager Carl McClean says the blue flashes of the kingfishers can be seen on an almost daily basis.

The birds first appeared when the parks were closed to the public during the Heritage Lottery Funded and Big Lottery Funded regeneration project in summer 2013.

They decided to stay and have remained there since the gates were re-opened in January last year.

Desert Tawny Owl: New Species of Bird Discovered

Jan 25, 2015 by Sergio Prostak

A group of ornithologists led by Dr Manuel Schweizer from the Natural History Museum of Bern in Switzerland has described a new cryptic species of owl that inhabits the desert areas of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Yemen.

The Desert Tawny Owl (Strix hadorami). 
Image credit: © Rony Lybanah.

The newly-discovered species, named the Desert Tawny Owl, belongs to theearless owl genus, Strix.

It is a medium-sized owl, 30 to 33 centimeters long, and weighing 140 to 220 grams. It resembles the Hume’s Owl (Strix butleri) and the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) in plumage pattern and proportions.

The species’ scientific name, Strix hadorami, honors Israeli ornithologist and writer Hadoram Shirihai.

“It is a special pleasure to name this bird for Hadoram Shirihai, a much-valued colleague and collaborator for 20 years,” Dr Schweizer and his colleagues wrote in a paper in the journal Zootaxa.

“Although Hadoram’s ornithological interests are staggeringly wide-ranging, his name is arguably particularly synonymous with this wonderful owl of wild places in the Middle East. He discovered, when still a young boy, a live but poisoned specimen (of the Desert Tawny Owl) in En Gedi, which became the first individual to be held in captivity and is now a skeleton in the Tel Aviv University Museum.”

Hundreds of Dead Birds in North Iceland

BY ZOË ROBERT January 25, 2015 11:01Updated: January 25, 2015 11:15

Hundreds of dead guillemots were recently found by farmer Gunnar Óli Hákonarsson at Sandur in Aðaldalur, North Iceland. The birds, which were found on a beach east of the mouth of Skjálfandafljót river, are believed to have died from starvation due to bad weather in December. Foxes and ravens have been scavenging on the bird carcasses.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Large bird found on the run in West Moors

First published Friday 23 January 2015 in News
Last updated 09:18 Friday 23 January 2015by Katy Griffin, Reporter

A LARGE bird was found on the run in the West Moors area of East Dorset.

Large bird found on the run in West MoorsThe RSPCA is trying to track down the owner of the Rhea, which was found yesterday (Thursday).
The large bird, similar to an ostrich, was found roaming in the area, and appears to be well and uninjured but no one has been able to get close enough to be sure.

The rhea was found trapped between two lines of fencing and after being carefully herded to safety, is now being held on a farm in the area.

RSPCA staff are monitoring the bird while searching for where it might have come from and are very keen to reunite it with its owner as soon as possible.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Sue Brooks said: “I’ve been an officer for over ten years and I’ve never seen a rhea in the area! We’ve had wallabies before, but this is a new one.

Rare and endangered species feature in Megamalai's first-ever bird survey

THENI: The first-ever bird survey in Megamalai wildlilfe sanctuary in Theni district recorded 198 bird species, including 26 migrant bird species. The sanctuary- which is relatively new compared to other sanctuaries in the region- shares its boundaries with Srivilliputhur grizzled squirrel sanctuary and Periyar tiger reserve in Kerala. It is rich in flora and fauna, ranging from shrub forests to evergreen forests and also hosts a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies.

Between November 15 and 16, expert bird watchers had carried out a bird survey in the sanctuary, setting up 14 camp sites. Teams of bird watchers, each consisting of an expert and an assistant, covered the whole sanctuary. They recorded a total of 172 resident species. Among these, the red-whiskered bulbul was spotted in all the 14 camp areas, followed closely by the grey jungle fowl which was seen in 12 sites and the spotted dove, southern coucal, white-cheeked barbet and purple-rumped sunbird in 11 areas.

RSPB - Big Garden Birdwatch weekend- 24-25th January

Throats slit, Florida pelicans dying in serial slashings

By Letitia Stein

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Brown pelicans with slit throat pouches have been washing up this month in south Florida, triggering community outcry as authorities investigate what they suspect are serial slashings.

About 10 birds have died, and another four were injured, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The culprit apparently used a knife to slit the large gullets beneath their beaks, spokesman Robert Dube said.

The birds use the oversized pouches to swallow fish skimmed from the water. Once slashed, they can starve to death.

"It's a slow, agonizing death for these animals," Dube said.

The maimed pelicans have been turning up around the lower Florida Keys, located in the southernmost part of the state.

Friday 23 January 2015

The bird runner


Running more than 10 000km for environmental issues close to his heart – with one journey spanning almost the full breadth of Canada – was not enough for Dave Chamberlain.

The athlete and former scuba-diving instructor will now be lending his talents to saving the critically endangered white-winged flufftail in a run from Dullstroom to Johannesburg.
“This species is one of those ‘hidden gems’ with a population found in Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal – and the next closest group found nearly 4 000km away in Ethiopia. That’s fascinating,” Chamberlain told Daily News this week.

The birds have been found in high altitude wetlands in KZN, including Franklin Vlei, Penny Park, Hebron near Kokstad, Ingula and Murphy’s Rust near Ladysmith, as well as a single record from Mfabeni in the St Lucia area.

Chamberlain’s new six-day, 281km adventure starts on February 1. He will cover on average about 50km a day, pulling a trailer containing his food supplies. He will use the trailer as a makeshift shelter at night.

The Pretoria man said environmental issues were something he was passionate about, having spent considerable time under water in various oceans around the world.

“We must look after what we have and do what we can to protect it. Think about what goes into a migration. Some animals travel thousands of kilometres and we take that for granted,” he said.

Rare bird sighted in Rajapalayam


Broad-tailed Grassbird.jpgDuring the Pongal bird count, a team of birder spotted the Broad-tailed grass bird, which is endemic to the Western Ghats.

A group of young birders have spotted the Broad-tailed grass bird near a reservoir on the outskirts of Rajapalayam during the Pongal bird count.
On the final day of the count on January 18, the team, led by birder and wildlife photographer Sharan Venkatesh spotted this rare bird, which is endemic to the Western Ghats.

“We sighted just this bird among the prinias [small insectivorous birds]. It looked different. Initially, we were not sure what bird it was. After photographing it, we came to know that it was a rare sighting,” says Sharan, a final year student at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.

The four-member team, comprising Sankar, Pranav and Lokesh, all members of the Wildlife Association of Rajapalayam (WAR), also sighted Osprey, Striated heron, Orange-headed ground thrush and Yellow-footed green pigeon among 150-species of birds identified in the count.

More than 1,400 sign up for Big Farmland Bird Count

Thursday 22 January 2015 5:30

More than 1,400 farmers across the country have signed up to the second Big Farmland Bird Count.

The event, led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), will take place from 7-15 February.

It aims to help farmers and gamekeepers record the effect on farmland bird numbers of any conservation schemes on their land, such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops and game cover crops.

Jim Egan, from the GWCT’s Allerton Project, said: “It is crucial that farmers understand how these vital ‘greening’ measures are helping some of our most rapidly declining birds and importantly, what species are benefiting from these measures.


Hidden infection shortens life in birds

January 23, 2015

Lund University

Mild infections without symptoms of illness can still lead to serious consequences by reducing the lifespan of the infected individuals, research shows. A new study has been carried out on malaria-infected migratory birds. The infection is thought to speed up the aging process by shortening the telomeres (i.e., the chromosomes ends) at a faster rate and thereby accelerating senescence. 

Thursday 22 January 2015

Rare visitor to Punchakkari

Spot-billed pelican sighted twice early this week

A spot-billed pelican that was sighted in the Punchakkari wetlands.The Punchakkari wetlands, a birding hot spot on the outskirts of the capital city, are playing host to the spot-billed pelican.
The comparatively large swimming bird with webbed feet, a sub-mandibular pouch that is pink in colour, and a short, broad tail was first sighted and photographed on Sunday by S. Kumar Karamana, bird enthusiast and scientist at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Valiamala, during his visit to Punchakkari in search of birds.

Mr. Kumar, who is also a wildlife photographer, along with Biju P.B, visited the wetlands again on Monday and was able to sight the bird and photograph it .

The previous sightings of the bird here were in 2002 and 2004 during the Asian Waterfowl Census conducted by the city-based birders, the Warblers and Waders.

Goshawk with camera helmet reveals how eye contact helps bird home in on its prey

By John von Radowitz

The incredible footage shows that animals caught in its sights can avoid becoming its next meal by breaking off from the deadly gaze with a sharp sideways turn

A camera helmet fitted to a goshawk has revealed how the bird of prey uses eye contact to home in on its kill.

It shows how animals caught in its sights can avoid becoming its next meal by breaking off from the deadly gaze with a sharp sideways turn.

Shinta the goshawk was fitted with a bird's-eye-view camera for the experiment led by Dr Amador Kane, from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, US.

She said: "In our videos you could see that only the sideways motion was effective at breaking the visual fix.

"Maybe what they are trying to do is counter the sensory abilities of the predator.

"They are trying to take advantage of the way the predator does its visual guidance to escape."

Three companies charged after bird kill

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Three companies now face charges after thousands of birds died in 2013 when they flew into a flare burning at a natural gas facility in Saint John, N.B.

Canaport LNG LP was charged with three violations in October 2014 and two other companies — Irving Canaport GP Company Ltd. and Repsol Canada Ltd. — now also face those charges.

The three companies face two charges under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act that prevent anyone from depositing a substance harmful to migratory birds.

They are also charged with unlawfully killing Canada warblers under the federal Species at Risk Act.

Large bird attacks Oregon jogger; owl is blamed for strikes

January 19, 2015 12:39 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon jogger thought someone knocked him in the head or he got hit by lightning or may have suffered a stroke when he felt a big blow to the head last week as he was jogging in Bush's Pasture Park.

When the 58-year-old man, Ron Jaecks of Salem, was struck a second time he saw a large winged animal he thought was a massive bat.

Mysterious 'penguins' spotted off Yorkshire coast

Sea life sanctuary forced to issue statement after lines jammed with 'penguin' sightings off Scarborough, North Yorkshire

By Agency

2:50PM GMT 20 Jan 2015

A sea life sanctuary has been forced to ask bird spotters to stop jamming the phone lines with reports of penguins off the Yorkshire coast.

The Sanctuary in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been bombarded with calls asking if any of its resident Humboldt penguins had escaped after sightings of penguin-like birds.

The calls have forced the centre to release a statement explaining it as a simple a case of mistaken identity.

Senior aquarist Todd German said: "We get a few calls every year from people mistaking razorbills and guillemots for their flightless cousins from the southern hemisphere.

"This year we've been more than usually inundated because of exceptionally large numbers of 'little auks' appearing close to shore on their migration from the Arctic down to wintering grounds in the North Atlantic.

"Though not much bigger than a starling, the little auk looks even more like a penguin, especially if viewed from a distance and its size isn't obvious.

"They usually pass our shores a long way out to sea, but winter gales have brought them closer in this winter."

Wednesday 21 January 2015

What’s Up With That: Birds Bob Their Heads When They Walk

01.20.15 | 

Pigeons get a bad rap, but they are one of my favorite species of bird. The only thing that irks me is the way they go around picking up bits of peoples’ leftover lunches. I’m not condemning their dietary choices (who am I to judge?), it’s just that I always felt like they’d get a lot more respect if they stopped that ridiculous head bobbing while scavenging for food.
What's Up With That?

Each week, we'll explain the science behind a strange phenomenon that you may be wondering about, or may be hearing about for the first time right here. 

Because their primary mode of transportation is flight, I figured pigeons needed to bob their heads to keep from tipping over while waddling after hot dog nubs. In reality, it has nothing to do with their sense of balance, but everything to do with the way they see the world.

What the head bobbing lets pigeons do is momentarily fixate their eyes on objects. This gives the photoreceptors in their eyes enough time—about 20 milliseconds—to build a steady scene of the sidewalk world. And this has nothing to do with their bird-size brains.

Unusual bird spotted near Osakis

By Al Edenloff on Jan 20, 2015 at 7:32 a.m.

Jim and Gail Trutwin have had an unusual guest at their home on Smith Lake west of Osakis the past couple of months – a white downy woodpecker at their suet feeder.

The bird’s unusual coloring led the Trutwins to believe it may be an albino woodpecker but its eyes are black, not the tell-tale pink associated with albinos.

Also, the bird isn’t pure white; there is some color in the feathers. According to information on the National Audubon Society’s website, the bird could be a partial albino or it could have Leucism, a genetic mutation preventing melanin, which affects a bird’s coloring.

Climate change does not bode well for picky eaters

January 20, 2015

Louisiana State University

Gentoo Penguin at Cooper Bay, South Georgia.jpgChinstrap Penguin.jpgIn a part of the world that is experiencing the most dramatic increase in temperature and climate change, two very similar species of animals are responding very differently. New research suggests that how these species have adapted to co-exist with one another might be to blame.

Chinstrap penguins whose namesake describes the black stripe under their chins are decreasing in number while Gentoo penguins, recognizable by their bright orange beaks, are increasing at summer breeding colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula. This research sheds light on the different strategies these two similar species have carved out over time to reduce competition for food, and the ramifications these different strategies are having now during a time of rapid environmental change.

Satellite telemetry tracks bearded vultures

January 16, 2015

Bartgeier Gypaetus barbatus front Richard Bartz.jpgSource:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

The Pyrenees are home to continental Europe's only wild population of bearded vultures, a species classified as endangered in Spain. A study compiled by Spanish researchers reveals -- in a level of detail until now unseen -- the size of the home range of this bird species using satellite tracking technologies.