Questions tagged [ornithology]

Questions relating to the study of birds.

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6
votes
1answer
169 views

How much do urban pigeons move around cities?

Do they tend to live their lives in one area of the city or do they move around? For example, do pigeons born on London's Trafalgar Square live their whole lives centered around Trafalgar Square or ...
3
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2answers
211 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 ...
18
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
4
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1answer
344 views

Do blind birds bob their head when they walk?

Birds try to keep their heads still for short periods of time between steps to improve their ability to see. You can find amusing videos of chickens used as small video camera stabilizers. But does ...
9
votes
1answer
235 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 ...
0
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1answer
82 views

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 named ...
2
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0answers
56 views

Can you suggest me some books/articles about how female birds indicate receptivity to copulation? [closed]

Where can I find informations about the topic? I need to find some examples. I also really need this particular information: I know that many female mammals display lordosis behavior that indicate ...
2
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1answer
74 views

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 ...
15
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1answer
3k 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
125 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 ...
6
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1answer
1k 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
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. (...
2
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1answer
43 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 ...
1
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1answer
167 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?
3
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1answer
2k 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 ...
0
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1answer
6k 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?
1
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1answer
350 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 ...
7
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1answer
10k 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
445 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
420 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 ...
8
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1answer
61k views

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 ...
-5
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1answer
158 views

Two 20 million yr old fossils of Hummingbirds found "The amazing thing about the fossil is that it's essentially a modern hummingbird [closed]

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
15
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2answers
1k 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
3k 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 ...
5
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1answer
689 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?
0
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0answers
94 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
186 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
250 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?
14
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1answer
693 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
3k 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
8k 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 ...
5
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0answers
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
votes
1answer
561 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.
9
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1answer
15k 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
3k 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?
11
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1answer
2k 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
374 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
54 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
19
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2answers
5k 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
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 - ...
10
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2answers
4k 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 ...
1
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2answers
121 views

I photographed a couple of butterflies and birds in Argentina but can't identify them. What are my options? [closed]

I photographed a couple of birds and butterflies in Argentina and tried to identify them. I tried online species identification tools, looked in books, and just tried to find pictures on Google with ...
4
votes
1answer
673 views

Are boat-tailed grackles efficient flyers?

The boat-tailed grackle's deep-V tail would seem to cause a great deal of drag or even downward deflection (like an airplane's elevators). How much does this actually affect the bird's flight?
4
votes
1answer
135 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 "...
6
votes
1answer
866 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
1
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0answers
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 (...
6
votes
2answers
550 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
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0answers
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 ...

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