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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 »

Gifts Also Rule Animal Kingdom

They offer piggyback rides, share food

(Newser) - Many species of animals are just as into gift-giving as we are, though they may be better at avoiding that last-minute shopping rush. Often, the New York Times explains, the presents are tied to mating. "This is an incredibly cool and important topic in sexual selection that we’re... More »

This Migrating Bird Flies 6 Months' Straight

Scientists get a surprise when collecting data from Alpine swifts

(Newser) - When Alpine swifts head south for the winter, they don't mess around: Researchers have discovered that the small birds fly nonstop for six months, reports the Los Angeles Times . The Swiss scientists attached ultra-light sensors to the birds before they took off from Switzerland to Africa, then did a... More »

Birds Observe Speed Limits on Roads, Too

They adapt to car speeds for their own safety, study says

(Newser) - No, birds can't decipher the numbers on speed-limit signs. But researchers suggest that they've learned to observe our posted limits in their own way, reports the Canadian Press . Essentially, the higher the speed limit is on a road, the faster the birds take off to avoid oncoming traffic.... More »

T-Rex's Brain Was Ready to Fly

CT scans reveal that non-avian dinosaurs had what look like 'bird brains'

(Newser) - Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's … T-Rex? Not actually, but you'll be forgiven if that's the image left by a new study that found some nonavian dinosaurs—including the lizard king himself—may have had "bird brains"... More »

Senior Citizens Going to Court Over ... Bird Feeder

Feeder provides solace to homebound senior, but NJ neighbors complain

(Newser) - Two New Jersey seniors may soon find themselves in court over ... unauthorized bird-feeding. Alfred and Annette Rockefeller, 77 and 66, have received a summons to appear in court tomorrow over a feeder in their garden that has prompted complaints from neighbors; officials say it violates local rules. Feeding wildlife is... More »

Here's the Oldest Bird Ever Found —Maybe

Aurornis xui predates Archaeopteryx, but some think China 'enhanced' fossil

(Newser) - The feathered Archaeopteryx long ago laid claim to the title of oldest known bird—but it appears there's a new oldest winged critter in town. Scientists have found a fossil of a feathered dinosaur that predates Archaeopteryx by some 10 million years: Aurornis xui, discovered in northeastern China. The... More »

Oil-Soaked Birds Turn Up in Arkansas Spill

Smell permeates town as Keystone debate rages

(Newser) - Ten surviving "oiled ducks" and two dead ones have turned up following a pipeline leak in Arkansas , Exxon Mobil says. "I'm an animal lover, a wildlife lover, as probably most of the people here are," says a local judge. "We don't like to see... More »

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