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Scientists Find Planet's Most Polluted Bird

Cooper's hawk found with higher levels of flame retardants than any other

(Newser) - The Vancouver area is home to what is thus far known to be our planet's most polluted wild bird. Researchers studying the livers of local birds of prey found that the Cooper's hawk was tainted with polybrominated diphenyl ethers, chemicals that function as flame retardants. Of the 13... More »

Scientists Replay Call, Bird Last Seen in 1941 Surfaces

Jerdon's babbler spotted in Burma

(Newser) - Good news courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society: An apparently "extinct" bird last seen in Burma almost 75 years ago has flown back into view. The Jerdon's babbler, or Chrysomma altirostre, initially discovered in 1862, was spotted in grasslands near the town of Myitkyo in July 1941 but... More »

Birds Kill Man Who Cleaned Pigeon Poop

Pigeon allergy, pneumonia claim life of 72-year-old

(Newser) - A man who came in contact with pigeons but didn't much like them has died in an unexpected way—from a pigeon allergy. Peter Willoughby of Hampshire County, England, cleaned bird droppings at a Ford factory for 25 years and let a friend store pigeons in his garden, the... More »

Thousands of Dead Birds Keep Washing Ashore on West Coast

Cassin's auklet deaths mystify scientists

(Newser) - From California to Washington state, thousands of dead birds have been turning up on the shoreline, and scientists don't know what to make of it. It's not all kinds of birds that are dying: just a species of small birds known as Cassin's auklets, the Los Angeles ... More »

Day Before Tornado, Wily Songbirds Knew

First-of-its-kind study: Warblers may use infrasound to evade storms

(Newser) - Days after five tiny golden-winged warblers finished their seasonal migration, flying 3,100 miles from Colombia to Tennessee, they vacated their new home to travel 400 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico. Some 24 hours later, on April 27, 2014, at least 84 tornadoes left a path of death... More »

How Birds Stopped Growing Teeth

Genetic mutations point to common toothless ancestor

(Newser) - Friday was a big day for bird lovers: Twenty-three new papers revealed all kinds of scientific information about the animals, ranging from how they learn to sing to how they got their feathers, Australia's ABC reports. Among the reports was one looking into how the creatures lost their teeth.... More »

Afghan Cops Shoot Bomb-Carrying Bird

Animal walking on highway appeared to have antenna

(Newser) - Police in Afghanistan were puzzled by a large bird walking on the highway: The animal, which wasn't a local species, appeared to have an antenna. They shot it—and it exploded, an official tells NBC News . It left "suspicious metal stuff" behind, Maj. Gen. Abdul Nabi Ilham says... More »

Eggs' Shape May Have Helped Birds Outlive Dinosaurs

Study suggests differences played a role

(Newser) - So why did birds survive the mass extinction that wiped out their dinosaur relatives? A new study suggests that the shape of their eggs played a role, reports the BBC . Scientists aren't sure exactly what that role was, but they do know that eggs of survivor birds were shaped... More »

Toothless 'Dragons' Roamed Our Skies

Pterosaurs were neither dinosaurs nor ancient birds but winged reptiles

(Newser) - A family of animals ruled the skies some 90 million years ago, but they weren't dinosaurs, and they weren't birds, and they didn't even have teeth. The winged reptiles of the late Cretaceous period belong to a family of pterosaurs called Azhdarchidae, and they appear to have... More »

Owl Breaks Into Couple's Birdcage, Kills Canary

Apartment was on 10th floor; second canary survives

(Newser) - An owl flew into a 10th story apartment in Coeur d'Alene, apparently opened a bird cage, and killed one of two canaries inside. Sue Sausser says she awakened Sunday to find bird droppings and feathers all over her apartment, the Coeur d'AlenePress reports. Sausser found the brownish, yellow-eyed... More »

Why Birds Are Igniting in Midair Over California

Cleaner energy sometimes comes at a cost

(Newser) - A cutting-edge solar technology in California's Mojave Desert may have a bit too much cut. Wildlife officials say they've counted one bird being scorched to death every two minutes by intensely focused rays of light at the BrightSource Energy plant, considered the largest solar thermal power plant of... More »

Biggest-Ever Flying Bird Unearthed at Airport

Pelagornis had wingspan up to 24 feet

(Newser) - The biggest flying bird ever discovered had a wingspan bigger than that of some small planes—and appropriately enough, its fossil was found at an airport. The bird, named Pelagornis sandersi, lived around 25 million years ago and had a wingspan of up to 24 feet across, around twice that... More »

Our Only Native Stork Back From Brink of Extinction

Wood stork is taken off endangered list

(Newser) - America's only native stork has made a comeback a few decades after scientists warned it could be extinct by the year 2000. The wood stork—a four-foot-tall wading bird with a five-foot wingspan—has been officially declared a threatened species instead of an endangered one, though it will continue... More »

Oakland Riled by Strange Story of 5 Baby Herons

Tree-trimmer could face federal charges for disrupting their nest

(Newser) - A tree-trimmer, homeless birds, and an erroneous report involving a wood-chipper: These are the elements of a strange story that has riled Oakland. Herons living in trees near a post office were leaving droppings on mail trucks, so the post office had the trees trimmed. That, it seems, is how... More »

Dinosaurs Survived by Shrinking

10K dinosaur species live on 'in form of birds,' says study author

(Newser) - How many dinosaur species roam the Earth today? "About 10,000 ... in the form of birds," says Oxford paleontologist Robert Benson, one of the authors of a study published in Plos Biology that clarifies dinosaurs' evolutionary path. As Astrobiology explains (and as you may be thinking), the belief... More »

Idaho Killing Birds to Save Other Birds

4K raven will die to save sage-grouse

(Newser) - Ravens are getting the short end of the stick in Idaho, where officials have decided to kill thousands of the birds to protect the at-risk sage-grouse. The state plans on killing 4,000 ravens—which feed on sage-grouse eggs and chicks—over two years by destroying their nests, shooting them,... More »

World's Oldest Bird a New Mom

Wisdom, at least 63, has had 7 chicks in 7 years

(Newser) - Wisdom the Laysan albatross is "at least" 63 years old, experts say, making her the oldest known wild bird on the planet. And, amazingly, she's still hatching chicks. Last week, a worker at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge—Wisdom's home in the north Pacific—saw the... More »

Only 600 Whooping Cranes Left, and 3 Were Just Shot

A 4th male may never fly again

(Newser) - The endangered whooping crane population currently stands at only about 600 in all of North America—and shootings are cutting into that number. In the past few months, three of the continent's tallest birds, at some five feet, have been killed: Two were apparently killed in November in Kentucky,... More »

Windows Kill Up to 10% of America's Birds Each Year

Study: That's as many as 988M birds

(Newser) - After cats, what's the second biggest killer of birds? Windows. A new report finds that between 365 million and 988 million US birds, or as much as 10% of the country's bird population, die each year after flying into windows. And interestingly, skyscrapers account for less than 1%... More »

Birds' V-Formation Explained

It's even more impressive than you probably imagined

(Newser) - OK, this is just cool: We all know birds fly in V-formations, but an in-depth study into the pattern using high-tech GPS sensors has found just how precise a science the flight model is. After tracking and monitoring a flock of northern bald ibises—rare birds raised in captivity that... More »

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