Questions tagged [ornithology]

Questions relating to the study of birds.

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47
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2answers
6k views

I just saw this bird outside my apartment. Anyone know what it is? (Texas, US)

Saw this bird outside my apartment in College Station, Texas and have never seen anything like it before! It is about the size of a hand.
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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How long before robin no longer needs the nest on my porch?

A robin has made a nest on my porch. Unfortunately, the nest is on my weed wacker which I might want to use at some point this summer. Currently, there are two eggs in the nest. How long will it be ...
29
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
21
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1answer
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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
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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 ...
18
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2answers
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How can birds disperse seeds when they are able to digest them?

I've just read in a book that birds' guts can digest almost all the consumed seeds with the exception of mistletoe and loranthus (which stays stuck on the branches). On the other hand, I know that the ...
18
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1answer
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What kind of skull is this?

We found this skull on a beach in southwestern Sweden, and are curious as to what kind of animal it was.
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1answer
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What is this little owl-like bird?

I was walking outside (location: Netherlands) and just saw this little bird: Unfortunately I had to take a long range picture with my cell phone so the quality is quite bad, however I hope still ...
16
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4answers
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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?
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1answer
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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.
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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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1answer
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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?
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2answers
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How does a woodpecker not give itself concussions?

How does a woodpecker go about smacking it's head into a tree without killing itself?
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2answers
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What species is this black, blue and white bird?

I think this species is native to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as I see it regularly, especially around the urban locality (Downtown Edmonton). Season: Early Spring Date: May 18, 2017 Basic ...
14
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1answer
688 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.
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4answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
12
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2answers
571 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 ...
12
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1answer
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What kind of crow is this? [duplicate]

Years ago, when I lived in Greece, I saw crows from a close distance, but never with this peculiar colouration. Today I saw two individuals, both with these gray parts. Location: Austria, Vienna. ...
12
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2answers
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Where do birds and squirrels go to die?

This may sound like a silly question, but I have been wondering about this for a while. I live in a suburban neighborhood with a lot of trees. A lot of trees means birds and squirrels. You can hear ...
12
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1answer
466 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?
11
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1answer
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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 ...
11
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1answer
327 views

What is this raptor on a building in California?

So I took this picture of a bird that was sitting just outside my workplace a few weeks ago: At first I searched the internet for raptors in California and found the Cooper's hawk. It looked so much ...
11
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2answers
582 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 and I'm not an ornithologist -- just an amateur bird ...
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1answer
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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 ...
11
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1answer
912 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 ...
11
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1answer
861 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 ...
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2answers
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Why do sparrows jump instead of walk when they are not flying?

I want to talk about sparrows, one of the most common birds around the world. I noticed that when one slowly walks into them (so that they are not frightened enough to fly away), these tiny birds ...
10
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1answer
287 views

What bird is this?

Location: Urban area near the Western Ghats, Kerala, South India. Date: 20th April, 2017 Current Climate: Hot and humid. Occasional rains. Brief Description: Not large, about the size of a house ...
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2answers
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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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3answers
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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 ...
10
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1answer
179 views

What bird is this?

Not very good pictures, but saw this bird I have never seen before out my window Location: Salem, Oregon, USA
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1answer
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Do birds ever fly in clouds?

Do (some) birds ever fly in fog or clouds so that they would not be able to see either the ground or the sun? Assuming the visibility is good enough so they can see obstacles in time to avoid them. ...
10
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1answer
160 views

Can someone identify this Brazilian bird?

Photographing and documenting the local fauna (Brasília, DF, Brazil - Near Coordinates [-15.696506 -47.860013]), I found this rather unusual-looking bird whose name I couldn't find: (Image was now ...
10
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4answers
571 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 ...
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1answer
601 views

Mysterious spherical mass of feathers (Reddit)

Original posting from Reddit I am posting this here in the hopes that an ornithologist might be able to shed some light on this unusual finding. Locality is Boise, Idaho. This appears to be a ...
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2answers
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What species of duck is this?

What species of duck is this? See below photo. Head colour is green like a mallard, but that's pretty much the only similarity. Spotted in Leicestershire, UK.
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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 ...
9
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1answer
403 views

ID of a pair of similar-looking birds in NT, Australia

I spotted these two birds in Yellow Water, Kakadu NP. They were not in each other's vicinity, so it's not a pair in the sense that they were mates (not that I can tell at least :-). Their appearance ...
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2answers
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What is this bird of prey with white belly?

This bird was around the house in northern Switzerland (alt: ~700 m) on January 17th 2016, and I am just wondering what kind of species it is. The legs are yellow and the under (I do not have picture ...
9
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2answers
248 views

Owl identification

This evening I spotted this beautiful owl that had become the centre of concern of my neighbourhood birds. There was a joint commotion of the House crows, Jungle bablers, Bulbuls and Maynas, which is ...
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1answer
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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, ...
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1answer
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Why are certain baby (water)fowl yellow?

Why are e.g. ducklings, goslings, turkey and chicken chicks (partly) yellow? What is the chemistry background to this? What compounds from the egg cause this to happen? What is the evolutionary ...
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1answer
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What species is the smallest bird?

What species is the smallest living bird in the world? What circumstances limit the bird size from the bottom?
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1answer
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How do you call “pocoya” bird in English?

I am translating a Spanish book and I have here a bird named in Spanish "pocoya", about which I know the following: 1) it flies at night 2) it makes sounds that allow to confuse it with an injured ...

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