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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 »

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 »

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