Promiscuity, Paternity and Personality in the Great Tit

A new study further feeds humanity’s insatiable hunger for news about the birds called great tits: “Promiscuity, Paternity and Personality in the Great Tit,” Samantha C. Patrick, Joanne R. Chapman, Hannah L. Dugdale, John L. Quinn and Ben C. Sheldon, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, vol. 279, 2012, pp. 1724-1730.  The authors, at the […]

Why Do Birds Bob Their Head While Running? (Locomotion, part 2)

The question : ‘Why do some*(see note below) birds bob their heads when walking?’ has perplexed scientists for many years. Some researchers suggest that head-bobbing may be correlated with the morphology of the retina, but others propose that it’s mechanically linked to the locomotor system, and that its visual functions are secondarily adapted. Either way, […]

Budgerigarian Contagious Yawning (quite untortoisean!)

Although scientists have failed to find evidence of contagious yawning in tortoises (though those scientists succeeded in winning an Ig Nobel Prize), other scientists have now found evidence, they say, of contagious yawning in budgies [a non-yawning specimen of which is pictured here in a photo by Elektrofisch]. They published a study about it: “Evidence for […]

Oddies in air & sea: Hitchcock, pelicans, & flying rays

Some oddities from the air and the sea: A new study about what got Into Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” birds: “Mystery behind Hitchcock’s birds,” Sibel Bargu [pictured here], Mary W. Silver, Mark D. Ohman, Claudia R. Benitez-Nelson and David L. Garrison, Nature Geoscience, vol. 5, nos. 2–3, 2012. Published online 22 December 2011. “On 18 […]

Be she the scientific scourge of cats?

A November 1 report in the Los Angeles Times reads like an extract from a crime novel: Smithsonian bird researcher is convicted of trying to poison cats A postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo was found guilty Monday of attempting to poison cats in her northwest Washington neighborhood. Security […]