The effect of potholes in the path of helmeted guinea fowl

What happens when Helmeted Guinea Fowl, out walking, encounter an unexpected pothole? Do they fall over? That depends, in quite an improbable way, on whether they see it coming or not … In 2005, a research team at Concord Field Station, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, US, endeavoured to clarify things by encouraging […]

Novel Mode of Capturing a Heron (1866)

Hardwicke’s Science-Gossip was a monthly publication that brought science (mostly botany, zoology and geology) to the masses. Science-Gossip provided short summaries of scientific studies (mostly botany and zoology); advice to the hobbyist on raising reptiles, catching rare butterflies, building a microscope, etc; and most interesting, pages and pages of correspondence, answering readers’ questions and reprinting […]

Swallows and Bed-Bugs

One hundred years ago, an ornithologist confessed that one, at least, of his beliefs had been shaken. He published a paper about it: “Swallows and Bed-Bugs,” Edward R. Warren, The Condor, 1913, Vol.15(1), pp.14-16. IN MY paper in the May-June CONDOR, 1912, entitled “Some North-central Colorado Bird Notes,” I referred to the belief that swallows […]

The Value of Vomit (for Rollers)

Vomit is, for the birds, of fearful value, suggests this study: “Rollers smell the fear of nestlings,” D. Parejo, L. Amo, J. Rodríguez and J.M. Avilés, Biology Letters, epub 2012.  The authors, at EEZA, CSIC, Almería, Spain, report: “Some bird species produce chemical compounds when threatened, such as nestlings of the Eurasian roller Coracias garrulus [pictured […]

The effect of climate change on great tits

This new study relates two much-discussed topics: “A model approach to project the start of egg laying of Great Tit (Parus major L.) in response to climate change,” Frank-M. Chmielewski, Klaus Blümel, Carina Scherbaum-Heberer, Bettina Koppmann-Rumpf, Karl-Heinz Schmidt, International Journal of Biometeorology, vol. 57, no. 2, March 2013, pp 287-297. (Thanks to investigator Tom Gill […]