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Birds

  1. Tech

    Researchers Study Owls For Clues to Reducing Aircraft Noise, Making Planes More Interesting to Hipsters

    Remember when Harry Potter fans all wanted pet owls, but then realized that they are vicious winged harbingers of death? Turns out they're also silent harbingers of death, and new research is examining how owls stay so quiet in flight. The goal of the study is to make modern aircraft more silent and owl-like. We suggest building an aircraft made from feathers and that runs on mice.

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  2. Science

    Quarantined: Finches Avoid Sick Members Of Their Flock

    We've all found ourselves ducking friends, loved ones, significant others and co-workers when they develop a sniffle or two. We're not the only species to show that rather mercenary brand of common sense, though. A recent study shows that the common house finch, usually an intensely social avian, can tell when other finches are ailing and will avoid sick members of their own species to prevent the spread of disease.

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  3. Science

    Captive Cockatoo Is First Parrot To Spontaneously Invent Its Own Cocka-Tools

    This is Figaro, a Goffin's cockatoo, using a tool he made himself to reach a delicious cashew placed just out of his reach. While more and more birds -- like crows -- are understood to use simple tools, Goffin's cockatoos have never been seen using tools in the wild before, meaning t is the first example of Figaro's species ever using tools -- much less crafting tools themselves without prompting.

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  4. Weird

    Young Birds Get Dangerously Drunk On Fermented Berries

    It turns out that, just like human teenagers, young birds can also get tipsy off of alcohol, make some poor decisions, and end up clumsy, stumbling wrecks. That's the finding of a study of young blackbirds who got tanked off of fermented rowan berries near a primary school in England last year.

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  5. Science

    Wounded Eagle Gets Fancy New 3D Printed Beak

    "What do you get the bald eagle who has everything?" Probably a rotting fish or something. They love that kind of thing. It's pretty obvious that you get a bald eagle with a mangled beak that prevents it from eating and cleaning itself a new beak, though. That's certainly no small task, but it's one the folks at raptor sanctuary Birds of Prey Northwest have officially risen to, using a 3D printer to craft a brand new beak for Beauty, a disabled bald eagle who has been in the sanctuary's care since she was shot in the face by a poacher in 2005.

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  6. Weird

    Vladimir Putin Pilots Motorized Hang Glider to Lead Endangered Siberian Cranes on Migration

    You read that headline right: Vladimir Putin is basically the little girl from Fly Away Home, except for how Anna Paquin has never had her political enemies locked away in a Russian prison for two years for playing guitar in a church. As far as we know. What we can be sure of is that Putin, the former head of the KGB, former Prime Minister and current President of Russia, took the helm of a powered hang glider and proved that his abilities as a leader are so great, even wildlife must follow his directives as he took point in the first stages of a migration of young Siberian cranes, who are due to leave on their annual trip to winter nesting grounds in Iran and India soon.

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  7. Science

    Earthbound Dinosaur Hunted Like Modern Leopards, Dined On Early Birds

    Paleontologists at the University of Alberta have found evidence that a feathered, but flightless raptor-like dinosaur preyed on ancient birds. Three fossils of Confuciusornis sanctus, a primitive bird-like creature, were found in the fossilized abdomens of a pair of Sinocalliopteryx gigas -- a relative of T-Rex that was about the size of a large wolf. It's the first time a predatory dinosaur has been found dining on avian fare, and a reminder that while battles between titans like allosaurus and stegosaurus may dominate our imaginations, the majority of dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence probably looked familiar to anyone who has watched a modern predator stalk prey in a nature documentary. Except it would be with dinosaurs, and thus a billion times cooler.

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  8. Weird

    Over 2,000 Dead Birds Wash Ashore on Chilean Beaches

    Several news outlets are reporting that some 2,300 dead sea birds have been found along four miles of beach in Chile. The mass avian die-off has left corpses from Cartagena to Playa de Santo Domingo, and is a no doubt unnerving sight. We really need to stop these mass animal die-offs, they're creeping me out.

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  9. Weird

    Paper Airplane Thrown from Building Attacked by Birds [Video]

    The creator of this remarkable video says that he or she threw a paper airplane out of an 18th floor window. You might be expecting a leisurely flight to the ground, or perhaps cruising for an incredible distance before touching down. You probably wouldn't be expecting a pair of vindictive birds, or for the person filming all this to remain eerily quiet. 

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  10. Weird

    Amazing Animal Sculptures Made From Broken CD Shards

    Artist and author Sean Avery has come up with what is without a doubt the single greatest use for old CDs. Cutting up the dics into carefully shaped shards, he pieces them together into spectacular animal sculptures. The shmmering, textural work is decidedly lo-tech, using hot glue and wire frames, but almost certainly labor intensive. The feathers of the hummingbird above, for instance, must have taken some time to piece together. It's delightful, astounding work, and a not-too-subtle jab at the impermanence of media. See many more pictures, after the break.

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  11. Weird

    Crow Snowboards Across Russian Roofs [Video]

    Alright, I am perfectly willing to concede that this crow isn't actually snowboarding. I accept that it's much more likely that it is simply trying to eat something out of the cap it's riding on. However, that doesn't explain why the bird keeps taking the cap to the apex of the roof, why it seems to stop pecking once it starts moving, or how the crow seems pretty cheesed when the ride ends. The evidence is against it, but in my heart I know that this bird is kicking sweet moves on fresh powder.

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  12. Science

    200 Blackbirds Die in Arkansas Town on New Year’s Eve, Down From 5,000 Last Year

    Last year, nearly 5,000 dead red-winged blackbirds rained down on the Arkansas town of Beebe. As careful readers will recall, 2011 was marked with a number of disturbing mass animal deaths, and the Beebe bird massacre fit nicely in with these apparent harbingers of the apocalypse. And now, it's happening again, in the same place. Is humanity not getting the message?

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  13. Weird

    Thousands of Birds Die Flying Head-First Into Walmart Parking Lot, Mistaking It for Water

    Today in unfortunate bird news, thousands of migrating grebes crashed into a Walmart parking lot -- as well as other similar constructions throughout Utah -- because they confused it with a body of water. Wildlife officials said the duck-like probably mistook the parking lot for a safe resting spot, like a body of water, considering grebes are aquatic. Wildlife program manager for the southern region of the Utah Department of Wildlife Resource's Teresa Griffin said the birds are "just everywhere," and that people are even coming into the department's office, dropping them off.

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  14. Science

    Study: Ravens Might Communicate Using Gestures

    Ravens have proven to be some of the most surprising species of birds, having demonstrated the ability to use tools and even solve complex puzzles. Now, new research from Simone Pika and Thomas Bugnyar suggests that these clever birds might use gestures in order to communicate with each other.

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  15. Science

    Enormous Flock of Starlings Makes Spectacular Art in the Air

    Growing up in the mystic Michigan peninsula as I did, I've seen more than my fair share of alarmingly large flocks of birds. However, I've never seen anything that compares to this murmuration, which twists and turns through the air as a living ocean wave. Though starlings are tiny and harmless on the ground, seeing that many in the air makes me a little nervous. Thankfully, I can watch these acrobatic starlings from the comfort of my own home thanks to the intrepid camera work of Sophie Windsor Clive. Head on past the break for a video.

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