Headline writing is for the birds?

Ambiguity comes easily when one writes headlines, sometimes. Here’s an example: “An inexpensive, 3D‐printable breast muscle meter for field ornithologists,” Luke L. Powell, Adam Metallo, Crinan Jarrett, Nathan W. Cooper, Peter P. Marra, Scott R. McWilliams, Ulf Bauchinger, and Bryant C. Dossman, Journal of Field Ornithology, vol. 92, no. 1, March 1, 2021, pp. 67-76. […]

Innovative Scientists Talk About Their Childhood (1): Frans de Waal’s Jackdaws

Here’s Frans de Waal talking about some jackdaws that, when Frans was a child, excited him in a way that led to his eventual unusual career. Frans studies chimps, bonobos, macaques, capuchin monkeys, and other of our close relatives. He wants to understand how and why they (and we) do some of the impressive things […]

Dakota McCoy and the Blacker-Than-Black Bird Plumage

Biologist Dakota McCoy, (seen here performing with a tray of drinks in hand, in “The Incompetence Opera,” part of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony) has a new study about color in birds. McCoy, together with colleagues Teresa Feo, Todd Alan Harvey, and Richard O. Prum, published “Structural absorption by barbule microstructures of super black bird of paradise feathers,” […]

Intentional Fire-Spreading by Raptors in Australia [research study]

Some birds intentionally spread fire from place to place, sometimes in cooperation with other birds, says this new study. “Intentional Fire-Spreading by ‘Firehawk’ Raptors in Northern Australia,” Mark Bonta, Robert Gosford, Dick Eussen, Nathan Ferguson, Erana Loveless, and Maxwell Witwer, Journal of Ethnobiology, vol. 37, no. 4, 2017, pp. 700-718. The authors write: “We document Indigenous […]

Stimulating interest in ornithology: The “Masturbation in birds” project

Dr. Price’s “Masturbation in birds” project aims to stimulate interest in ornithology. Dr. Price, based at the University of Liverpool, explains: One of the projects I work on is trying to understand why some species of bird seem to masturbate loads, and other species don’t seem to do it at all. Masturbation is a pretty […]

Attracting birds – with a ‘Songbird Magnet’

Want to attract birds? Specifically, Purple Martins or Eastern Bluebirds, Baltimore Orioles, House Wrens, House Finches, American Goldfinches, & Indigo Buntings etc etc. Then you could try the Bird-X Songbird Magnet. “As bird lovers, it only makes sense with the science & resources we have available, to offer an electronic songbird attractant.” – say the […]

Why Are Bird Eggs Bird-Egg-Shaped? [New research from an Ig Nobellian]

Mahadevan, who won an Ig Nobel Physics Prize in 2007 for studying how/why wrinkled sheets become wrinkled, has a new study out about how/why bird eggs become bird-egg shaped. The study, by Mahadevan and several collaborators, is: “Avian Egg Shape: Form, Function, and Evolution,” Mary Caswell Stoddard, Ee Hou Yong, Derya Akkaynak, Catherine Sheard, Joseph […]

Bird jousting in a wind tunnel: How to avoid collisions

Birds, not carrying weapons of any sort, jousted by special arrangement of three scientists in Australia. Details are in the study: “Strategies for Pre-Emptive Mid-Air Collision Avoidance in Budgerigars,” Ingo Schiffner, Tristan Perez, and Mandyam V. Srinivasan, PLoS ONE, 11(9): e0162435. The authors, at the University of Queensland, Australia, report: Trajectories of birds flying towards each […]

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