Current Birds News and Events

Current Birds News and Events, Birds News Articles.
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Parasitic plants conspire to keep hosts alive
The plant that encourages kissing at Christmas is in fact a parasite, and new research reveals mistletoe has an unusual feeding strategy. When two mistletoes invade the same tree, they increase photosynthesis to get the nutrients they need, essentially sharing the tree and causing it less harm. (2021-02-23)

Animal evolution -- glimpses of ancient environments
Zoologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich report the discovery of a trove of fossil fly larvae, and an intriguing caterpillar, encapsulated in samples of amber that are tens of millions of years old. (2021-02-19)

The distribution of vertebrate animals redefines temperate and cold climate regions
The distribution of vegetation is routinely used to classify climate regions worldwide, yet whether these regions are relevant to other organisms is unknown. Umeå researchers have established climate regions based on vertebrate species' distributions in a new study published in eLife. They found that while high-energy climate regions are similar across vertebrate and plant groups, there are large differences in temperate and cold climates. (2021-02-18)

Migratory birds track climate across the year
As climate change takes hold across the Americas, some areas will get wetter, and others will get hotter and drier. A new study of the yellow warbler, a widespread migratory songbird, shows that individuals have the same climatic preferences across their migratory range. (2021-02-18)

Songbirds' reproductive success reduced by natural gas compressor noise
Some songbirds are not dissuaded by constant, loud noise emitted by natural gas pipeline compressors and will establish nests nearby. The number of eggs they lay is unaffected by the din, but their reproductive success ultimately is diminished. (2021-02-18)

Wintering bird communities track climate change faster than breeding communities in Europe and North America
A study recently completed in Europe and North America indicates that the composition of wintering and breeding bird communities changes in line with global warming. However, wintering bird communities are considerably faster at tracking the changing climate compared to breeding communities. (2021-02-17)

Higher elevation birds sport thicker down "jackets" to survive the cold
A new study examines feathers across 249 species of Himalayan songbirds, finding that birds at higher elevations have more of fluffy down than lower elevation birds. Finding such a clear pattern across many species underscores how important feathers are to birds' ability to adapt to their environments. Furthermore, finding that birds from colder environments tend to have more down may one day help predict which birds are vulnerable to climate change simply by studying feathers. (2021-02-15)

Birds can 'read' the Earth's magnetic signature well enough to get back on course
Birdwatchers get excited when 'rare' migratory birds makes landfall having been blown beyond their normal range. But these are rare for a reason; most birds that have made the journey before are able to correct for large displacements and find their final destination. Now new research shows how birds displaced in this way are able to navigate back to their migratory route and gives us an insight into how they accomplish this feat. (2021-02-12)

Play and meaty food reduce hunting by cats
Domestic cats hunt wildlife less if owners play with them daily and feed them a meat-rich food, new research shows. (2021-02-11)

Gulls, sentinels of bacteria in the environment
Gulls are one of the main wild birds that act as reservoirs of Campylobacter and Salmonella, two most relevant intestinal antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing gastroenteritis in humans. Therefore, according to an article published in the journal Science of the Total Environment seagulls could act as sentinels of the antibiotic pressure in the environment. (2021-02-10)

Starling success traced to rapid adaptation
Love them or hate them, there's no doubt the European Starling is a wildly successful bird. A new study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology examines this non-native species from the inside out to learn what exactly happened at the genetic level as the starling population exploded across North America? (2021-02-09)

Birds living in natural habits can help inform captive care
Bird species that live in their natural habitats can help zoos learn how to manage those in captivity, according to a new review. (2021-02-05)

Fossil pigments shed new light on vertebrate evolution
This new paper shows that melanin is more than just something that gives colour to the body. It played an important role in the evolution of warm-blooded animals and helped defined what birds and mammals look like today. By studying where melanin occurs in the body in fossils and modern animals researchers have produced the first model for how melanin has evolved over the last 500 million years. (2021-02-04)

Songbirds exposed to lead-contaminated water show telltale signs about human impacts
Researchers discovered lead levels like those reported in Flint, Michigan, can interfere with the neural mechanisms of vocal development of songbirds and affect mate attraction. (2021-02-04)

Even in same desert location, species experience differences in exposure to climate warming
Despite living in the same part of the Mojave Desert, and experiencing similar conditions, mammals and birds native to this region experienced fundamentally different exposures to climate warming over the last 100 years, a new study shows; small mammal communities there remained much more stable than birds, in the face of local climate change, it reports. (2021-02-04)

In a desert seared by climate change, burrowers fare better than birds
In the Mojave Desert, small mammals are weathering the hotter conditions triggered by climate change much better than birds, finds a new study in Science. Using computer models, the study team showed that small mammals' resilience is likely due to their ability to escape the sun in underground burrows and their tendency to be more active at night. This gives small mammals lower ''cooling costs'' than birds, which have less capacity to escape the heat. (2021-02-04)

Forming sound memories: Autism gene plays key aspect in birdsong
Inactivating a gene in young songbirds that's closely linked with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prevents the birds from forming memories necessary to accurately reproduce their fathers' songs, a new study led by UT Southwestern shows. (2021-02-03)

Finding rare birds is never a picnic, contrary to popular Patagonia belief
One of birdwatching's most commonly held and colorfully named beliefs, the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect, is more a fun myth than a true phenomenon, Oregon State University research suggests. (2021-02-01)

Harpy eagles could be under greater threat than previously thought
New research led by the University of Plymouth (UK) suggests estimates of the species' current distribution are potentially overestimating range size. (2021-01-27)

New study identifies bird species that could spread ticks and Lyme disease
A new study published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography used machine learning to identify bird species with the potential to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) to feeding ticks. The team developed a model that identified birds known to spread Lyme disease with 80% accuracy and flagged 21 new species that should be prioritized for surveillance. (2021-01-27)

When push comes to shove, what counts as a fight?
Biologists often study animal sociality by collecting observations about behavioral interactions. These interactions can be things like severe or minor fights, cooperative food sharing or grooming. But to analyze animal behavior, researchers need to make decisions about how to categorize and code these interactions. That gets tricky. (2021-01-26)

Female Bengalese finches have lifelong preference for their father's song to other birds'
Daddies' girls? Female Bengalese finches prefer their father's song to that of other birds throughout their lives - while sons lose this preference as they grow up. (2021-01-20)

All-purpose dinosaur opening reconstructed for first time
For the first time ever, a team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, have described in detail a dinosaur's cloacal or vent -- the all-purpose opening used for defecation, urination and breeding. (2021-01-19)

With a little help from their friends, older birds breed successfully
The offspring of older animals often have a lower chance of survival because the parents are unable to take care of their young as well as they should. The Seychelles warbler is a cooperatively breeding bird species, meaning that parents often receive help when raising their offspring. A study led by biologists from the University of Groningen shows that the offspring of older females have better prospects when they are surrounded by helpers. (2021-01-19)

Well-built muscles underlie athletic performance in birds
Muscle structure and body size predict the athletic performance of Olympic athletes, such as sprinters. The same, it appears, is true of wild seabirds that can commute hundreds of kilometres a day to find food, according to a recent paper by scientists from McGill and Colgate universities published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. (2021-01-19)

Borrowing from birds, experts reduce search times for novel high-entropy alloys to seconds
Computational materials science experts at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory enhanced an algorithm that borrows its approach from the nesting habits of cuckoo birds, reducing the search time for new high-tech alloys from weeks to mere seconds. (2021-01-14)

Behavioral traits converge for humans and animals sharing an environment
Humans, mammals and birds that live in a particular environment share a common set of behavioral traits, according to a new study, which identifies a local convergence of foraging, reproductive and social behaviors across species. (2021-01-14)

Scientists discover bizarre new mode of snake locomotion
Researchers have discovered a new mode of snake locomotion that allows the brown tree snake to ascend much larger smooth cylinders than any previously known behavior. (2021-01-11)

This tree snake climbs with a lasso-like motion
Researchers reporting in Current Biology on January 11 have discovered that invasive brown tree snakes living on Guam can get around in a way that had never been seen before. The discovery of the snake's lasso-like locomotion for climbing their way up smooth vertical cylinders has important implications, both for understanding the snakes and for conservation practices aimed at protecting birds from them. (2021-01-11)

Researchers find nonnative species in Oahu play greater role in seed dispersal
Oahu's ecosystems have been so affected by species extinctions and invasions that most of the seeds dispersed on the island belong to nonnative plants, and most of them are dispersed by nonnative birds. (2021-01-11)

Unusual sex chromosomes of platypus, emu and duck
Three studies uncovered the unusual sex chromosomes of platypus, emu and Peking duck. Platypus have five pairs of sex chromosomes forming an unusual chain shape, while the sex chromosomes of emu and duck are not as different between sexes as those of human. The studies were led or co-led by Qi Zhou's group at the University of Vienna and Zhejiang University of China and are published as research papers in the journals Nature, Genome Research and GigaScience. (2021-01-07)

Eurasian eagle owl diet reveals new records of threatened giant bush-crickets
Bird diets provide a real treasure for research into the distribution and conservation of their prey, conclude scientists after studying the Eurasian Eagle Owl in southeastern Bulgaria. In their paper, published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Travaux du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle ''Grigore Antipa'', they report the frequent presence of the threatened Big-Bellied Glandular Bush-Cricket, and conclude that studies on the Eurasian Eagle Owl could be used to identify biodiversity-rich areas in need of protection. (2021-01-05)

Global study on bird song frequency
Competition for mates leads to a deeper voice than expected based on size (2020-12-22)

Study examines attitudes toward non-native birds
A new study from scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology examines public attitudes toward non-native bird species and whether people are willing to manage them to protect native cavity-nesting birds, such as Eastern Bluebirds and the American Kestrel. The findings are published in the Journal of Environmental Management. (2020-12-21)

Skinnier but resilient geese thriving in the high Arctic
Barnacle geese in the Arctic have been on a diet. So many now migrate to northern breeding grounds that in some places there's less food to go around. The good news is that it doesn't seem to restrict their population growth -- yet. (2020-12-17)

Babbler bird falls into climate change trap
Animals can fall into an 'ecological trap' by altering their behavior in the 'wrong direction' in response to climate change, researchers say. (2020-12-16)

The phantom chorus: birdsong boosts human well-being in protected areas
Although many studies have found that humans benefit from spending time in nature, few studies have explored why. Researchers hid speakers that played recorded songs from a diverse group of birds on two sections of trails in Colorado. Hikers who heard the bird songs reported a greater sense of well-being than those who didn't. The survey results showed that both the sounds themselves and people's perception of biodiversity can increase humans' feelings of well-being. (2020-12-15)

Characterising Indonesia's bird-owners guides behaviour change amid Asian Songbird Crisis
A comprehensive new study into the key user groups in Indonesia's bird trade offers hope for protecting species through behavioural change. Novel research led by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Chester Zoo has identified three main groups within the Indonesian songbird owner community: 'hobbyist', 'contestant' and 'breeder'. (2020-12-14)

Archaeopteryx fossil provides insights into the origins of flight
Moulting is thought to be unorganised in the first feathered dinosaurs because they had yet to evolve flight, so determining how moulting evolved can lead to better understanding of flight origins. Recently an international research discovered that the earliest record of feather moulting from the famous early fossil bird Archaeopteryx found in southern Germany in rocks that used to be tropical lagoons ~150 million years ago. The findings were published in Communications Biology. (2020-12-09)

Listen to the birds: illegal diet pill DNP might kill you on the long run
DNP, a weight loss agent withdrawn from the market in the late 1930s due to acute toxicity, has become increasingly popular in recent years through online illegal sales. A new study using a lifelong DNP treatment in an avian model found that while no obvious toxic effects were detected on the short to medium-term, DNP reduces lifespan by 20% on the long run. (2020-12-09)

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