Questions relating to the study of birds.

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Do chickens always lay eggs?

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hühnerei says it takes up to 24 h for a chicken to produce an egg. Is that dependent on the chickens nutrition, i.e., if it does not get enough food or the wrong kind, ...
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Why don't birds in flocks fly into each other?

I've seen videos of hundreds of birds flying in the same general direction but creating incredible patterns in the sky seemingly instantaneously! How do they all know in what direction to turn at the ...
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Can you “spam” bird sounds so that birds no longer interpret them right?

Is it possible to make birds confused by repeating recorded chirping or singing? Or do they always perceive them as usual, even if the situation is clearly not as described by those sounds? For ...
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Why ducklings are yellow?

Why ducklings are yellow, what the evolutionary background for this? How could it help to survive? UPDATE I agree with comment below, I did remember then that ducks are wild animals too (when I ...
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Birds and Dinosaurs

This came up in an argument with some friends. I know that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, shown pretty clearly through the fossil record. However, is it proper to say that birds are ...
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Why do hummingbirds build nests with live ferns instead of dead materials?

Hummingbirds prefer to build their nests with spore-bearing ferns, and mosses. This is helpful for the reproduction of the ferns, which are then better able to spread their seeds. But how is this ...
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Birds placing sticks on train tracks?

I live in a semi-rural area in Germany, close to a park which trains go through every 20 minutes. Today, I saw something that left me perplexed. There is a large population of birds that look like ...
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Birds from the Family Columbidae Feed Young “Crop Milk”

Birds from the family Columbidae (e.g., doves and pigeons) produce a fatty, milk-like substance in their crop. The secretion is often referred to as "crop milk." They feed crop milk to their young ...
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How can this bird be identified? Can someone please identify this bird?

These photographs have been taken in Warora, India. Could someone please help identify this bird?
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How do birds learn their tunes in isolation from their own species?

I wonder what a bird would sing if it didn't have its parents around (or any other birds for that matter) to learn its chirping sounds from. I'm interested in how a bird would sing... in complete ...
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What is the chemical composition of an egg shell?

It ought to be some combination of C, O, and H, I presume. But really why should I care if eggshell gets in my eggs while I'm cooking?
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Plumage as indicator of health in birds

Anybody know which traits of bird plumage are accurate indicators of a birds health? For example feather coloration, feather brightness, amount of feather wear, number of feathers, moult timing, moult ...
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Is there an instinct-driven body language for birds?

Over the last year or so, I've been observing house sparrows, because they are so prevalent in the northeast US cities. I noticed that a lot of sparrows, even in different cities seem to have very ...
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What is this crow eating, and is it a common part of the corvid diet?

Here's a picture (by Rob Curtis) of a crow carrying and eating the corpse of what looks a bit like a small hawk or falcon: Other pictures clearly show the crow is eating the dead bird. This image ...
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Why does ostrich meat look and taste more like beef than chicken?

Some time ago I tasted ostrich meat, and what was amazing to me was that the meat very much resembled beef, much more than it resembled chicken, turkey or duck meat. And even more than lamb and pork ...
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What kind of bird species is this?

Every now and then I got a glimpse of this bird which I'm pretty sure is not native to Northern Germany where I live. There are at least three of these birds around but I usually only see something ...
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How do the spiralled nostrils of birds of prey help them tolerate g-forces?

I know that such nostrils supposedly stop or reduce the possibility of the bird passing out when diving through the air but how is this achieved specifically? Maintaining ventilation of the lungs and ...
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Can songbirds mimic car alarm sounds?

A silly question. A few days ago I observed a very vocal bird with impressive vocal variety. It was rapidly switching from one tune to the next. After sometime I realized that the bird might be ...
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Food Intake versus ability to flee among birds, particularly the hummingbird?

Logically speaking, if a hummingbird drinks too much nectar, it will be temporarily overweight and less able or unable to fly to escape danger. However if the same hummingbird doesn't drink enough ...
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Identify this waterfowl species?

I've been unable to find anything on the Google resembling this bird. I took the photo in Virginia Beach, VA around 2010, October, I think... It appears to be between winter and summer plumage but I'm ...
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Is it possible to pet/groom birds?

I wonder if it's possible to pet a domestic crow, or an owl. Do birds respond to grooming as cats or dogs, for example? If so, then how does one pet a bird?
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Are there grass or fiber eating birds?

My understanding, that may be wrong, is that cellulose/fibre has little nutritional value to many animals because it's hard to break down thus making consumption inefficient. However, Ruminating ...
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Is this an Emperor Penguin or a King Penguin?

I have a book from Dorling Kindersley called Animal Encyclopedia (the German version that I have is called Das große Tierlexikon) with images from animals. One is titled Emperor Penguin ...
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Do diurnal birds of prey recognize each other by their appearance?

Just what the title states. I recognize people around me by their facial appearance to begin with, then by their little idiosyncracies; this applies perhaps to most other humans too. We rely pretty ...
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What's the name of this bird?

This morning I saw a bird that I have never seen before. Since it was quite big, I'm very interested in knowing its name. The bird was quite big, at least 2-3 times of a common blackbird. The wings ...
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How can an albatross stay airborne for months?

Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm-petrels and diving-petrels in the order Procellariiformes. They range widely in the Southern ...
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Why is the Kakapo more attracted to humans than its own kind?

The Kakapo can be seen in this video by BBC. It is said that the species is strongly sexually attracted to humans. Why could this be the case?
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Did we first have swimming birds or flying birds?

Looking at the swimming birds building nests just across my garden, I suddenly wondered how evolution came to swimming birds and whether flying birds started swimming or whether swimming bird like ...
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Can someone identify this bird?

We recently found a nest in the back garden and a little bird inside. Can you help us identify it? The nest is quite small like the bird so we are wondering whether this is the parent or a baby chick. ...
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Chicken Genome what are the LGE 'chromosomes'?

The chicken genome identifies two "LGE" sequences in the chicken genome. Are these distinct chromosomes or some highly variable sequence from the genome that is put in a separate sequence? I'm ...