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Winged Migration Grows Up

Scientists used to rely on metal bands on birds’ legs to find out how they got from here to there.  Now, they can glue tiny radio transmitters to their shoulders and follow them in real time.  What happened when Princeton scientists hijacked 30 white-crowned sparrows and took them from Seattle to New Jersey?  Age has […]

Crow Cam Lets Scientists See Intelligence at Work

Ever want to fly like a bird?  Now you can do the next best thing: get a tail-feather view of what it is like to fly from branch to branch.  University of Oxford scientists attached a small video camera to the underside of a New Caledonian Crow to watch it in the wild, reported PhysOrg.  […]

Was Velociraptor a Dragon?

As if Velociraptor, the terror of Jurassic Park, was not scary enough, some scientists are now saying it was feathered.  (This, of course, does not imply it could fly after its human prey like some movie dragon.)  The latest claim in Science is based on the apparent presence of “quill knobs” on the radius bone […]

New World Record for Winged Migration

The BBC News reports that a female bar-tailed godwit flew 11,500km (almost 7200 mi) nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand.  The journey took about a week.  Observers at Massey University used electronic tags to catalog the birds’ flight.     This distance is nearly double what ornithologists used to consider an “extremely long” flight.  This […]

Dinosaurs Stretched, Shrunk and Twisted Into Birds

Size matters, thought paleontologists envisioning the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.  The old story was that dinosaurs shrunk as their arms were becoming wings.  That view has been challenged by a new fossil reported in Science.1  Alan H. Turner (American Museum of Natural History) and four others reported a “basal dromeosaurid” that was small long […]

Birds Eat Dark Moths, Therefore God Does Not Exist

Michael Majerus watched birds eat peppered moths from his window for seven years (06/25/2004), then drew his conclusions.  In a presentation to a science conference in Uppsala, Sweden on August 23, he said that the peppered moth story proves evolution, which means there is no supernatural being to save us, there is no second coming, […]

Crows Use Tools on Tools

Crows can use one tool on another to get food.  A report in Science Daily says they appear to use analogical reasoning, not just trial and error, to figure out how to manipulate objects.  They used a short stick to get a longer stick out of a toolbox in order to reach a snack too […]

It’s Not a Bird, It’s a Plane

Look to the birds of the air, and they will teach you aeronautics.  That’s what designers of the Robo-Swift did.  PhysOrg reported about a new plane that imitates a swift thing on the wing: RoboSwift is a micro airplane fitted with shape shifting wings, inspired by the common swift, one of nature’s most efficient flyers.  […]

Roadrunner and Largest Flying Bird Described from Fossils

A bird with a 23-foot wingspan was described in the BBC News.  At an estimated 155 pounds, this bird probably had to jump from a height to get airborne and likely rode on thermals.  The article says the bird rivalled in size some light airplanes.  A diagram shows the Argentinean giant with wings upwardly stretched […]

Giant Fossil Penguins Lived in Warm Waters

“Giant prehistoric penguins?  In Peru?” puzzled a reporter on Science Daily.  “It sounds more like something out of Hollywood than science,” but a fossil penguin you could look eye to eye with has been found that far north.  “We tend to think of penguins as being cold-adapted species,” said one of the discoverers,” but not […]

Imaginary Dinosaur Feathers Found – Again!

Last year, we reported that imaginary feathers had been found on a dinosaur fossil (see 02/08/2006).  Now, more imaginary feathers have turned up.  This turkey was big, too: the dinosaur plumed in the imaginary feathers stood almost 12 feet tall.  Everyone’s talking about it: Fox News, MSNBC News and Science News among others.  National Geographic […]

Video Clip:  The Rich Little Bird

A popular video clip has been circulating around the internet for over a year.  It shows an Australian lyre bird imitating other birds and man-made sounds.  Click here to watch the 3.5 minute performance.  Narrated by David Attenborough, it was voted the #1 most popular Attenborough moment from the naturalist’s TV shows. Speaks for itself.  […]

Dino Feathers or Horsefeathers?

The much-touted feathers on certain dinosaurs may be nothing more than collagen fibers.  An article on ABC France says “Dinosaur ‘feathers’ are no such thing.”  Instead, it’s just decayed dermal collagen, like that found on sharks and reptiles.  A South African team came to this conclusion after analyzing the alleged feathers on Sinosauropteryx.     […]

Science Is for the Birds

Birds, with all their variety and functionality, are a never-ending source of study for scientists.  Here are some recent feathery findings: Memory masters:  Scrub jays are like us: they can plan ahead, regardless of mood.  Current Biology did a study that proved these common western birds can cache tomorrow’s breakfast regardless of their motivational state.  […]

Swifts Don’t Just Dream of Flying…

…they fly while dreaming.  Did you know that swifts, the aerial acrobats of the air, sleep on the wing?  That’s not all, they adapt their wing shape to turn on a dime.  Science Daily summarized the cover story of Nature this week (April 26) that examined “wing morphing” in swifts – their ability to change […]
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