birds

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Man Allegedly Smuggled Live Birds in His Pants

Authorities say he had a few more in a fanny pack

(Newser) - We would have been concerned about birds' well-documented taste for worms, but to each their own. A traveler arriving from Cuba was caught trying to smuggle nine live birds—three of them in the "groin area" of his pants—Jan. 9 at Miami International Airport, according to US Customs... More »

The Going Is Getting Tougher for World's Migratory Birds

Study finds only 9% have adequate protection along their routes

(Newser) - Migrating birds are impressive—one species is known to travel more than 6,800 miles in a single flight—but they're no match for human development, the Los Angeles Times reports. That's why researchers behind a study published Friday in Science say the world needs to band together... More »

Baby Whale Killers May Have Come From the Sky

It might be from 'gull harassment,' scientists say

(Newser) - Scientists have been scratching their heads over hundreds of baby whales that perished off the coast of Argentina between 2013 and 2014, but a new study points the finger at a possible cause, or at least a contributing factor: pesky seagulls, Live Science reports. The study published in PLoS One ... More »

Alaskan Cod Are Eating Seabirds

And scientists have no idea why

(Newser) - In what could definitely be the inspiration for a SyFy original movie, it appears Pacific cod are working their way up the food chain. A few years ago, Alaskan seafood workers started finding partially digested bird remains inside the stomachs of cod caught in the Aleutian Islands region, the Anchorage ... More »

Widow: I Planned on Feeding Husband to Birds

Ila Solomon wanted to grant dead husband's wish

(Newser) - The widow of a an 88-year-old Indiana man whose body remained in his home for as long as nine months after death has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges, and admitted that she wanted his body to be eaten by birds. Fifty-six-year-old Ila Solomon of Lafayette pleaded guilty to failure... More »

Scientist Stumbles Onto Elusive Bird —Then Kills It

Christopher E. Filardi stirs up a controversy

(Newser) - Christopher E. Filardi, a director at the American Museum of Natural History, stumbled upon an elusive male moustached kingfisher while on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands recently—and then killed it. In scientific terms, he "collected" it, but that means euthanasia, the Washington Post reports. Moustached kingfishers were first... More »

There's Something Seriously Wrong With Our Seabirds

Seabirds that soared for 60M years crashed in just 60 years

(Newser) - There are nearly 350 species of seabirds roaming the planet, ranging from the wandering albatross (with the world's largest wingspan) and the child-size emperor penguin (the only bird to breed in Antarctic winters) to tiny storm petrels that dance on the water as they eat, reports the Guardian . But... More »

Neighbors Sue Family Who Gained Fame Feeding Crows

Say they're now plagued by constant cawing, feces, rats

(Newser) - A sweet BBC story in February documented the relationship between 8-year-old Gabi Mann of Seattle and her close bond with the crows in her neighborhood: Since 2013, she'd been feeding them daily, sometimes even offering them her own lunch, then collecting the "gifts" they'd bring back for... More »

How This Bird Communicates Like Humans

Its calls show 'a very basic form of word generation': researcher

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered a talent never seen outside of humans in a small Australian bird: the ability to string sounds together to convey different meanings. Essentially, "it's a very basic form of word generation," researcher Andy Russell tells the BBC . The team started out by listening to... More »

How the Turtle Got Its Shell

The 240M-year-old 'grandfather' turtle had no shell and a very long tail

(Newser) - For at least a century, scientists have puzzled over the turtle. Thanks to a gap in the fossil record between 260 million and 220 million years ago, it's unclear how the turtle got its shell and to whom it's most closely related. Now a fossil from 240 million... More »

Sexed-Up 'Bachelor' Birds Could Save Their Species

Single male hihi birds can cut down inbreeding, ensure genetic diversity

(Newser) - Is the male hihi bird native to the Jersey Shore? Because, like The Situation and Pauly D, the single male birds in this endangered species (they're actually only found in New Zealand) are decidedly boorish, creeping for already taken ladies to mate with. But this actually might save the... More »

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 »

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