Questions relating to the study of birds.

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2answers
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Where do migratory birds go when it rains?

I was reading a comic from XKCD which inspired me to ask this question: "well, where do they go when it rains?" I know that when it rains you usually don't see any birds flying through the sky. I ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Were there any flying dinosaurs?

I've seen some articles which came in contradiction with each other. The first article was talking about flying dinosaurs, dinosaurs with feathers and so on. A couple of other articles are talking ...
10
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1answer
715 views

Are there birds with knees instead of elbows?

This is probably not a very good question for this site, but I couldn't find an answer elsewhere. Are there any birds whose legs fold the same way human legs do, in a knee, instead of an elbow which ...
10
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2answers
1k views

How does a woodpecker not give itself concussions?

How does a woodpecker go about smacking it's head into a tree without killing itself?
10
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2answers
204 views

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 ...
10
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1answer
295 views

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 ...
9
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3answers
666 views

The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
9
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1answer
218 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.
9
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1answer
881 views

Can you identify this bird?

Can somebody please identify this bird for me? I spotted this in July 2012 while birding in Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary.
9
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1answer
179 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
117 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
176 views

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 ...
8
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2answers
276 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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

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?
7
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1answer
226 views

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 ...
6
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3answers
380 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
421 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 ...
6
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1answer
349 views

How do birds influence brood sex ratios?

This paper concludes that birds can adaptively modulate brood sex ratios. How do birds modulate brood sex ratios? Are they somehow able to influence the sex of their young? Or once young are born, do ...
6
votes
1answer
257 views

Why Other Pigeons kill the baby if touched by human?

I used to have too many pigeons in house. If by chance one of the baby falls out of the nest we used to put it back using gloves. Usually, if we touch them with bare hands, the other pigeons usually ...
6
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1answer
188 views

Identify a bird

I have taken this picture of a bird in university zoo in Tel Aviv. It was approximately 25 cm high and seemed to be a flightless species. Can somebody help me identify it?
6
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1answer
965 views

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 ...
6
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2answers
173 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
185 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 ...
5
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1answer
463 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
95 views

Help Needed Identifying Corvids

I'd appreciate some help identifying these three corvids I photographed in Austria during the Summer: I know identifying corvids can be difficult, I'm not an ornithologist, just an amateur bird ...
5
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1answer
71 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
203 views

Do any birds beside the family Columbidae (or any reptile or mammal) feed their 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 ...
4
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1answer
90 views

Does a non-extinct gliding species of bird exist?

According to wikipedia was Archaeopteryx rather glider than capable of active flight. As a hunting strategy it crawl up to a tree (or other high positioned place) and glide from it to a prey. Most of ...
4
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1answer
118 views

Identify this large exotic bird spotted in Taipei, Taiwan

A few months ago while backpacking in Taipei I found this very intriguing large bird facing off a curious puppy in a fairly busy pedestrian area. The bird did not attempt to fly. None of the ...
4
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1answer
36 views

Why do insectivorous birds migrate?

Living in northern latitudes, I have always wondered why do migratory birds invest so much time and energy to travel twice a year the vast distances between their breeding grounds and wintering areas. ...
3
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1answer
74 views

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?
3
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1answer
64 views

Why do birds move their heads abruptly?

When we humans look around, we pan smoothly from one side to the other. Birds on the other hand seem to point their head in one direction for a while, then abruptly point their head in another ...
3
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4answers
79 views

What bird species is this? (Heron-like waterfowl from China)

I need help identifying this bird. (Some sort of heron?) It was seen in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in September. It is very common there. It can also swim like a duck, but I've only seen it do this once ...
3
votes
1answer
110 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?
3
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1answer
21 views

A website for identifying birds

I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but I guess that ornithology enthusiasts (or ornithologists) will have the best knowledge about it. I am wondering if there is a website ...
3
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1answer
32 views

How are chickens affected by light?

When I was young, I was told never to put a fluorescent light in a hen house because it continuously turns on and off. Extra lighting is used, as far as I know, to 'extend' a chicken's day. Human eyes ...
3
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1answer
68 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
51 views

What bird makes this sound?

It sounds like some kind of crow but not really. Here is my recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TsKFUugot8&feature=youtu.be#t=06s This bird always wakes me up at 04:00 and this started in ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
87 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 ...
3
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0answers
75 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Are Night Parrots (Pezoporus occidentalis) really extinct?

This incredibly rare animal has been reported to be extinct since 1990, however several cases has been raised that night parrot was spotted in the areas of Australia. What is the cause of their ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
144 views

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 gro├če Tierlexikon) with images from animals. One is titled Emperor Penguin ...
2
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1answer
29 views

Does a bird know it's different? [closed]

I live in Northern Virginia, USA. As I am sitting here there is a large flock of small (blackish) birds in a tree. They are quite prevalent here. For the sake of brevity I will call these birds ...
2
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1answer
228 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and harder and harder) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
2
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1answer
48 views

Which of the following demonstrates the pattern of development in Greylag Geese?

Which of the following demonstrates the pattern of development in Greylag Geese? {Please give specific answers, which among the following gives the best available demonstration?, If needed, have a ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

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 ...