Questions tagged [ornithology]

Questions relating to the study of birds.

58 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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8
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130 views

Identification of an animal building

I live in south-west Germany and today while mowing the lawn I discovered a strange structure. It looks like a molehill on which additional branches were placed. This kind of branches are easy to find ...
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57 views

Are blue feathers better insulators?

I recently found an article talking about the colors of bird feathers. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-are-some-feathers-blue-100492890/ Apparently, unlike other colors, where ...
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70 views

Vultures in Germany in the past

I noticed that since the 1970s the bearded vulture , which had disappeared from the Alps due to hunting, has been successfully reintroduced. I have searched for the modern habitats of vultures, but it ...
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132 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 ...
5
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1answer
419 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 ...
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140 views

Are there birds that don't vocalize?

I am wondering whether there are birds that do not vocalize at all. I know about the distinctions between songs and calls in passeriformes. I know that there are species that vocalize very little, ...
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102 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 ...
4
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1answer
382 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 help!...
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63 views

Do garden bird feeders harm wild birds?

I enjoy watching birds at a garden bird feeder but have started feeling guilty that it is having a negative impact on the birds. For example this study recently showed that birds in the UK have longer ...
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89 views

What kind of bird did I hear at three AM in Germany

I woke up at three AM from some sort of industrial noise outside. In addition to the noise I heard some creaking like from a stuck door. After the initial noise had ended, something that sounded like ...
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43 views

Mechanics of Peregrine Falcon Dive Pull Up

There are loads of information on how fast the Peregrine Falcon dives, but aside from having specialized lungs, eyes, etc... to survive the dive. What mechanics does it use to pull out of such a dive,...
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237 views

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. (...
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250 views

Niche differentiation in birds of prey

I'm not much of an ornithologist but I know enough to distinguish most Central European birds of prey. To me it is amazing that there are so many species that seem to occupy the same niche. Especially ...
3
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1answer
287 views

How do marine mammals and penguins maintain bone density?

After much searching on Google with no results, I decided to ask my question here. If I'm not mistaken, swimmers' bone density is less than normal; at least for lifetime swimmers. Astronauts also ...
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60 views

Help identifying this bird skull

The skull is 4 to 6 inches long and still has tendons attached. I found this on a beach in central California, which leads me to think it's probably from a seabird. I believe this is from a smaller ...
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114 views

Identifying the Pheasants

I took a few photos at the Aviary of Hong Kong Park. The photos included some pheasants, and the below shows 4 of them. What species are they? I am not sure if 1, 2, 4 are actually the same species or ...
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2k views

Does Rüppell's Griffon Vulture Have Greatest Vision Acuity? (Small Carrion Spotted at 10 km+?)

Synopsis: Some sources seem to imply the Rüppell's (griffon) vulture (Gyps rueppelli) can see objects at a distance in excess of 10 km -- roughly three times the ...
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1k views

Why do birds flap/shake their wings?

Here is a video that will show the behaviour I'm interested (see between 12:30 and 12:32). I want to know if this behaviour has a name and why birds are doing this. I observed this many times, with ...
2
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71 views

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 - ...
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25 views

Do penguins “test the ice”?

Do penguins have a way to test the ice that they stand on to ensure that the ice will not break? In other words, do penguins make sure that they will not fall into the ice before stepping onto it? I ...
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36 views

Do some birds really clean themselves using wet leaves?

While researching native shrubs to put in my garden for bird habitat, I read that some birds will take advantage of bushes to clean themselves by rubbing themselves against a wet leaf after rainfall (...
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32 views

Why such diversity in sexual dimorphism in passerines?

In searching for info to answer my question, I’ve found a fascinating 1998 article by Owens and Hartley from Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. It reports such cool findings as that When we break up plumage-...
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50 views

Is it impossible for some female songbirds to sing?

I have read that in northern hemispheres, most female songbirds can't sing (for example, the Blackbird). Things are different in tropical regions. Birdsong is for males in some species; it is utilized ...
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59 views

What happens to male turkeys?

My family and I have almost never seen a wild male turkey though we have seen countless female turkeys. Is the male to female sex ratio of turkeys at birth extremely low? If not, what happens to the ...
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61 views

Eagles carrying off a goat to its nest: How heavy is the young goat? How strong is the eagle? Here is my guess:

I posted a related question, here, trying to identify the exact subspecies of animals. In the documentary El Hombre y la Tierra, a golden eagle carries off some sort of juvenile(?) goat. The Japanese ...
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53 views

Which birds are capable of flying both forward and backwards?

Very random question - but it's often said that the hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards (for example, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/which-is-the-only-bird-that-can-fly-backward....
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13 views

Do ringneck parrots reject eggs of other parrots in their nest / eggs touched by humans?

I've put up artificial parrot homes in my terrace. Parrots have been nesting there and have laid eggs in them. Of late i have been observing a large gathering of crows and a few hawks perching in the ...
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9 views

Why are there fewer ospreys in upper New England?

I have a book by the Audubon Society on building bird houses. In this book the chapter on ospreys shows their breeding range to include Canada and then a pocket around the Connecticut and New York ...
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34 views

Bird identification by sound; midwestern US

This one's been bugging me for a couple of years. Location is southwest Michigan. Here are a couple of song samples (I couldn't separate it from the Titmouse... they're pretty chatty these days): ...
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138 views

How are homing pigeons' “homes” changed?

Last night I was watching the David Attenborough minidocumentary on animal navigation, and it talked about the homing pigeons used in the two World Wars. Apparently they were donated by UK pigeon ...
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76 views

Identification of a bird on the beach of a small lake

Last December in France (lake of Divonne, Ain) I took a picture of this bird looking for some food on the beach of the lake. It looks like a specimen of the genus ...
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14 views

What is the replacement period of gastrolithes in doves?

Gastrolithes are common in doves and pigeons. Do they keep ingested stones for ever? If not, how often are they to be replaced?
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2answers
91 views

What is the nesting period of the European Turtle Dove in middle to southern Italy?

While the breeding period to the north, in Switzerland, seems to be early May until early July, and I have not found any information for the Naples area. Also, are they likely to nest a second time?
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482 views

How do migrating geese handle hurricanes?

I live on the East coast of the United States, where we are in hurricane season. This week during my morning bike rides in Charlotte, North Carolina, I have seen migrating Canadian geese. I'm curious ...
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103 views

Why did black swans to evolve black colouring?

What environmental factor caused black swans, which are native in Western Australia, to evolve black feathers ? Note swans are either black or white, there are no brown or grey colurings, which can be ...
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29 views

Does the cactus wren use a call to elicit insect prey movement and detection?

I will be referring primarily to a 2013 paper, If a bird flies in the forest, does an insect hear it?, and my own investigation. Bird flight sound frequencies overlap with the hearing range of most ...
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23 views

Why are some bird species placed as family Incertae sedis while some families are simply monotypic?

The Bananaquit and Western Spindalis are passerines of Incerta sedis. But species such as the Osprey, Limpkin and Olive Warbler belong to their own, monotypic, family. Why aren't Bananaquit and ...
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116 views

Is it true that pigeons became less afraid of humans in recent years?

My grandfather had told me when I was a kid that at his time the pigeons would not approach humans closer than about 15 meters. At the time he said it the pigeons were approaching us not closer than ...
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150 views

How can I measure the curvature of bird's beak on the field?

I'm wondering if there is a standard tool to measure the bird's beak curvature. It seems that a spherometer wouldn't work because the beaks that I'm measuring are not circular but more parabolic. ...
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48 views

Insects or Birds covering least distance but most wing moves

I was in search in of list or detail about Insects and Birds which move their wings most but cover least distance. I know that in insects house fly moves its wings about 200/sec and covers 5mph (...
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39 views

Can anyone tell me what species this baby bird this is?

Can anyone tell me what species this baby bird this is? He or she is less than two weeks old. Fell out of nest. He is doing well. I live in Sacramento Ca, Thank you.
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55 views

What is happening with this hummingbird and how can I help him?

Today I noticed a hummingbird next to my feeder (California) which looks very strange. From my observation it seems that something sticks from its head. This thing is rigid (does not look like a ...
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39 views

Why are some bird hybrids fertile?

So, we all know that hybrids are infertile, that's the definition of a species, but how come some parrot species can interbreed and still be fertile. For instance a military macaw and a blue and gold ...
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17 views

Why do seagulls hit the ground with their feet?

In several occasions I saw some seagulls standing still and pretend as if walking that is they hit the ground with their feet. It always happens on the soil and not for example on the sidewalk. I am ...
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55 views

How did migrations evolve?

Disclaimer: I know nearly nothing about biology. I was wondering how did the migratory behaviour of birds evolve. Assuming that evolution/natural selection works slowly and gradually (at least most of ...
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41 views

Is it possible to know the sex of a bird using blacklight?

In the case of birds that have sexual dysformism, is it possible to notice it by illuminating them with blacklight? In my case I have a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) which is a lutino. They do not ...
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37 views

What factors have led to selection for intelligence in crows and rooks?

The Corvidae family could include some of the smartest species after primates. What could be the factors that differentiate them from other species of birds that have determined their potential for ...
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20 views

Do humming birds eat fruit juice?

I have a fig tree with ripe fruit. There are many birds in it including woodpeckers ( red-bellied ), don't know if he is eating fruit or bugs. The birds have eaten holes many fruits and some juice ...
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35 views

Why is it (allegedly) dangerous to feed ducks with breadcrumbs and pieces of bread?

I used to go down to the local lake all the time with leftover bread and throw little pieces of it to the hungry duckies, who very eagerly fetched it and ate it while happily quacking away. I thought ...
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127 views

Could some identify this bird call? (from the hu - wolf totem)

What species is making this sound? You can hear the sound it makes at the end of the music video: The HU - Wolf Totem