Questions relating to the study of birds.

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1answer
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Is the birds' decision to fly away congenital or learned behaviour?

I see two possibilities how could the birds know what to do every fall: The birds' migrations are driven entirely by the vertical memetics and today it is just a custom transferred from parents to ...
0
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1answer
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Clarification in the name “white cheeked barbet”

Everyday I was listening sound of the birs "white cheeked barbet". Then I was wondering how this name came to it? It should be by certain properties of them. In wikipedia it says Barbets are ...
7
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1answer
205 views

How did birds survive the KT impact?

As I understand it, the ejecta resulting from the K-T impact (also known as the end-Cretaceous or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event) re-entered the atmosphere all over the world; the heat from ...
6
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2answers
83 views

What is this bird of prey with white belly?

This bird was around the house in northern Switzerland (altitude approximately 700 metres) on January 17th 2016, and I am just wondering what kind of species it is. The legs are yellow and the ...
34
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2answers
3k views

Do homing pigeons fly straight home or follow certain “highways”?

Homing pigeons (Columba livia) have been prized for their navigational abilities for thousands of years. They’ve served as messengers during war, as a means of long-distance communication, and as ...
3
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2answers
311 views

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. ...
13
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1answer
873 views

Are there birds with knees instead of elbows?

Are there any birds whose legs fold the same way human legs do, in a knee, instead of an elbow which is what all the birds I know have?
6
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2answers
42 views

Why was the cackling goose split off as a distinct species from the Canada goose in 2004?

According to Wikipedia, in 2004 the American Ornithologists' Union made the cackling goose a new species, splitting it away from the Canada goose. The British followed suit in 2005. What was the ...
7
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1answer
81 views

Why do crows sit on treetops even when it is cold?

It is cold outside: -1 degrees Celsius, wind 14 km/h and snow from time to time. I was wondering why crows (maybe birds in general in Northern Europe) are calmly sitting in relatively windy places ...
3
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0answers
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Is the male satin bowerbird's bower-building behavior innate?

The male satin bowerbird builds a stick structure, known as a bower (distinct from a nest), where courtship and mating take place. They curiously decorate their bowers using blue or shiny objects. ...
3
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1answer
96 views

How do small birds survive the winter?

I live in a region with cold winters (ca. -40 C) and many quite small birds (sparrows, crows, ducks) stay for the winter. How can the birds survive this? As I understand it, smaller bodies will be ...
2
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1answer
29 views

A limit to birds affinity for high vantage points [closed]

Birds seem to have a natural affinity for high vantage points, including power wires, the tops of trees, and the sides and tops of buildings. However I presume the top of the Burj Khalifa is not ...
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1answer
89 views

Which bird of Upper Michigan is it?

While doing morning-walk in Keweenaw Penisula, Michigan; I found this juvenile bird wandering around looking for her mother ! Can someone spot which bird is it?
2
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1answer
124 views

How does the ideal free distribution work?

I have recently completed a study on Brent Goose. I found that Brent Geese occupy high quality habitat first then once this is full of geese, they fill up low quality habitat. However, there were ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Do birds emit infra-red radiation?

I'm an electronics engineering student and I am going to use a sensor that detects infra-red emitted by birds that invade rice paddies. Do birds emit infra-red radiation?
0
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1answer
115 views

Why do we have two eyes? [duplicate]

Humans, animals and birds all have two eyes. Why? In addition to why two instead of one, why aren't there more than two?
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1answer
53 views

Is there a GPS super tiny for passerine birds?

I wonder if there is a really tiny GPS device that can be mounted on passerine birds (or circa 10 grams birds) without affecting their flight. This web site shows information for bat’s GPS. But it ...
11
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1answer
146 views

Is it painful for the hen to lay eggs?

My little son just asked me this question. His mother used to complain about the excruciating pain she suffered when she gave birth to him. He is a compassionate kid and wonders whether the hen goes ...
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2answers
41 views

Large congregation of birds?

This year in October I saw a lot of robins, male and female, finches and chickadees, and geese flying south. Surprisingly I didn't see many juveniles from previous broods. My guess is that juveniles ...
7
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1answer
2k views

Do birds have navels?

This picture shows the development inside a bird egg: This shows the connection of the embryo to the yolk sac. Does this mean birds have navels? And if so, what happens to the umbilical cord once ...
0
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1answer
186 views

How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs? [closed]

The theory of evolution claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs only by mutation, genetic drift, migration and natural selection. However, it seems to me that wings were not selectively advantageous ...
5
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1answer
301 views

hummingbird feeders - is sugar water healthy for them?

The top results on google for DIY hummingbird feeder suggest a white-sugar solution for the feed. In humans we make a big deal about processed sugar vs. the sugar you get from, say, eating a piece of ...
12
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1answer
787 views

If dinosaurs could have feathers, would they still be reptiles?

I just finished watching a video where it was mentioned that nowadays birds are dinosaurs and non-avians dinosaurs could have feathers. I confirmed this from wikipedia: Birds are highly advanced ...
3
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1answer
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Do mammals and birds have a common warm-blooded ancestor?

Is it homogeneous or did they converge? Did we both evolve from warm-blooded reptiles that are extinct maybe?
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1answer
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What species of eagle pushes their young to teach them flying?

There are many references to eagle pushing their young off the nest to make them know how to fly, for example this motivational video. It is also described in this website: Let me show you "the ...
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1answer
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Two 20 million yr old fossils of Hummingbirds found "The amazing thing about the fossil is that it's essentially a modern hummingbird

does this only mean that the Hummingbird is perfect in creation and needs no change to survive? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3691169.stm
13
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2answers
398 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
914 views

Do mantises stalk cicadas?

The Chinese Idiom The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind (螳螂捕蝉,黄雀在后), which the story behind the idiom comes from Shuo Yuan(说苑), refers to those who are attracted by immediate ...
4
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1answer
391 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and heavier and heavier) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
4
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0answers
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Why do some Brown Pelicans have orange or reddish parts on their bills?

I am doing research on Brown Pelicans and have photos/descriptions of the breeding and nonbreeding appearances of adults, esp. the California and eastern subspecies here on our southern Pacific, Gulf ...
0
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0answers
33 views

Nature vs Nurture in Rooster mating dance: Are roosters lame dancers because they never learned any better?

I've seen, read about, or heard several avian courtship dances, flights, songs, and other rituals. They are general very impressive, fancy, and beautiful. Roosters, by comparison, are quite lame. The ...
2
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2answers
39 views

Are gizzard muscles voluntary or involuntary?

I started raising chickens this year. They have amazing appetites, and I often wonder what eating is like for them. They have no teeth, so they don't chew their food as they eat it. They do seem to ...
3
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2answers
168 views

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?
2
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0answers
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How do non-dimorphic birds distinguish sex of possible partners/rivals?

Some birds, such as my pet Pionus chalcopterus, are not sexually dimorphic. People can't tell them apart, and even trained avian vets are not 100% certain with an inspection probing the vent. I ...
12
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1answer
344 views

Can anyone identify this bird?

Can anyone identify this bird: it looks like a zebra finch but they are not native to UK are they? Photo taken from my garden in Shoreham, West Sussex on 16/8/2014.
7
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3answers
1k views

What exactly does adaptive mean?

This is a quote from Dey et al 2014: Hatching asynchrony is thought to be adaptive because... What exactly does adaptive mean here? Does it mean hatching asynchrony has fitness benefits? Or does ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Why do chickens not try to get up if laid on their backs?

I've seen a few videos about chickens being laid on their backs for a few seconds after which the chickens stay in that position until they are turned over. Comments around the video suggested that ...
4
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0answers
51 views

Negative association between habitat quality and reproductive success in birds

I'm looking for bird studies that have found either a negative correlation or no correlation between habitat quality and reproductive success. Or in other words, bird studies that have found that ...
3
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0answers
152 views

What is the name of this bird?

Does anyone know the name of the bird in the pictures? It was found in the south of Spain in the month of June. (it is certainly neither a house sparrow nor a swallow nor a robin). Thanks for the ...
5
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1answer
113 views

Do any birds have established “poke a predator's eyes out” behavior?

Is there a pattern/tactics of behavior in any birds species that consists of attacking a predator's eyes with its beak? I'm looking for established tactics, not 1 or 2 anecdotal examples.
7
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1answer
2k views

Why do pigeons kill their chicks when touched by a human?

I used to have many pigeons around the house. If by chance one of the chicks fell out of the nest, we used to put it back using gloves. Usually, if we would touch the chicks with our bare hands, ...
2
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1answer
287 views

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?
10
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1answer
1k views

What is the mass of a pigeon tail feather?

There is question at Space.SE If I drop a feather from orbit, would it burn up or “hit” the ground? there is an attempt to answer the question, but the mass of pigeon tail feather and possibly the ...
0
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1answer
109 views

Advantages of gregarious vs solitary behaviour?

I'm trying to explain why birds (specifically wildfowl) are gregarious during the winter and solitary during the summer. I think that in winter, birds are gregarious to reduce the risk of predation ...
9
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3answers
156 views

What triggers the migration of robins?

I live in central Massachusetts, and have begun seeing robins, as we generally do in early March. The temperature is well below normal, though, and three feet of snow are covering the still-frozen ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Literature that demonstrates organisms have a competitive advantage in numbers

I'm studying two bird populations that are competing against each other for a resource: Population A and Population B. Population A is present in much higher numbers than Population B, and as a ...
10
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3answers
471 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
367 views

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 ...
14
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2answers
2k views

How do birds deal with their eyes drying out at high speeds?

My eyes tear up when cycling at 15 mph, which is nothing compared to bird airspeeds. Do birds continuously produce lots of tears and blink a lot, or do the eyes self-moisturize from the inside ...
2
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0answers
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How do parrots stabilize their field of view without moving their necks while walking?

Based on my search online, I have found some theories which try to validate the activity of some birds (like pigeons) which involves moving their heads and neck while walking. These theories include - ...