Geese Walk In Marching Band Line

For reasons only God knows, here are a row of geese in marching band line in Amsterdam. They are led by their leader and followed by the drummer. ‘Left! left! left, right, left!’ Or is it, ‘Quack! Quack! Quack, quack, quack!’?


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New Genomic Analysis Shakes Up Bird Family Tree

Ornithologists and researchers studying dinosaur diversification have long puzzled over the evolutionary history of a group called the Neoaves, which encompasses nearly all the birds we have today except chickens, ducks, and ostrich-types. Now, after analyzing genome sequences from nearly 200 living bird species, researchers have a comprehensive view of the relationships between our modern birds.

The findings, published in Nature last week, fit with whats known from the fossil record: A huge increase in bird diversity took place in the wake of the dino-dooming CretaceousPaleogene (or KPg, previously known as KT) mass extinction 65 million years ago. And it happened fast too. More than 10,000 bird species evolved suddenly in just a few million years.

Their family tree, called a phylogeny, distills Neoaves down to five major groups, uniting birds that we probably wouldnt have grouped together: hummingbirds and swifts with nocturnal nightjars; pigeons, sandgrouse, cuckoos, and bustards; cranes; waterbirds and shorebirds; and landbirds. You can see how theyre all nestled together here and here.

All birds evolved from a group of dinosaurs that included T. rex and Velociraptor. All land birds from backyard sparrows and woodpeckers to parrots and falcons diverged early on from an ancestral, raptorial group that includes vultures and eagles. And since it was very rare for early birds to shift between terrestrial and aquatic lifestyles, the team thinks that nearly all water-based birds such as penguins, flamingos, and seagulls (but not cranes) shared a close, common ancestor. Additionally, todays highly visual, diurnal hummingbirds, with their acute near-ultraviolet vision, evolved from species that had been nocturnal for 10 million years.

This represents the beginning of the end of avian phylogeny, Prum says in a statement. In the next five or 10 years, we will have finished the tree of life for birds.

Image in the text: The green wood hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus) is a large, up to 44 cm (17 in) long, tropical bird native to Africa. This new study places this species in a group called the Coraciimorphae. Jacob Berv, Cornell University

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Male Sparrows With Unfaithful Partners Feed Their Young Less Food

In most species, even those thatare traditionally seen as being faithful to each other, there is often a bit of competition between the two sexes around whether or not one can sneak off and have a cheeky bit on the side. Well, it seems that male sparrows have an unusually brutal way of dealing with an unfaithful mate, simply by providing less food for their brood.

Researchers had previously noticed that lazy males tended to partner with unfaithful females, but were unable to ascertain whether or not they did this naturally, or whether the males somehow knew that their partners had had an affair. New research, however, has found that the males will alter their brood feeding behavior depending on how promiscuous his mate is, suggesting that he follows some sort of cue to figure out whether or not his partner has been cheating.

Why each sex ultimately wants to be unfaithful and mate with other individuals boils down to separate evolutionary strategies. For the male birds, which produce lots of sperm and thus lots of potential offspring, it is as simple as the more females he mates with, the more chances that theyll have his chicks and continue his line. For the females, however, it is slightly different. Comparatively she produces way fewer eggs, and so needs to be more selective about who she lets father them, therefore she may seek out another male who she deems as being fitter than her current mate.

But this then raises the odds that some male birds will therefore be raising chicks thatare not theirown, wasting precious resources and energy in doing so. And so it seems that if a male suspects his mate has been doing the dirty on him, hell come down pretty harshly on them, and feed the resulting chicks less food. Yet how does he know when the female has been having an occasional dalliance with a more attractive male? Well, it seems that he may be keeping track of her whereabouts.

If chicks were switched into a nest where the female was faithful, then the father at that nest kept up his hard work providing for the chicks, suggesting they have no mechanism, such as smell, to determine which chicks are theirs, explains Dr. Julia Schroeder, lead author of the paper published in The American Naturalist. Instead, the males may use cues from the females behavior during her fertile period for example how long she spends away from the nest.

The paper has come out of an impressive 12-year study of every single sparrow that lives on the isolated Lundy Island, in the Bristol Channel. The researchers have been following 200 males and 194 females, as they formed 313 pairs and hatched 863 broods. The island is in effect a natural laboratory, as over that period of 12 years, only fourexternal sparrows are known to have made it from the mainland, allowing the scientists to DNA genotype every single bird and therefore build a detailed family tree of all the sparrows so they can then figure out exactly which females were the most unfaithful and which were the most loyal.

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Bird Lands On Cameraman’s Head

Dhalsim1 posted this short video yesterday, and already it has amassed over 1.4 million views. While the cameraman was recording a juvenile kestrel in his backyard, the majestic bird leaped from the fence onto his head, giving him the shot of a lifetime.


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Using the Natural Beauty of Feathers, This Artist Creates Stunning Art.

Artist Chris Maynard loves birds, and in the spirit of famed bird artist and ornithologist John James Audubon, he creates art about them. But these aren’t just paintings or traditional studies. Maynard’s art showcases the natural beauty of birds by using bird feathers as the medium. Don’t worry–no birds are ever harmed in the process. Maynard only uses feathers that have been naturally shed by the birds, and many of his “contributors” continue to lead happy and healthy lives to this day.

So many birds have fascinating, vibrant feathers in a variety of patterns, colors and textures. Their feathers didn’t need any embellishment. Maynard’s cut-feather sculptures are striking not only in their tiny, intricate detail, but also in the way that Maynard’s additions highlight their natural beauty.

Peacock Attraction 5. Peacock feathers

This Escher-like piece is created on a demoiselle crane feather, which is about 14 inches long.

In this detail image, you can see the amazing detail that goes into the cutouts.

Jay Sunbather. Macaw wing feather.

Ocellated Turkey Park detail. Ocellated turkey feather

Turaco Dance. Turaco feather

Beauty on the Move. Peacock feathers

Perchers. Turkey feather

. Ocellated turkey feathers

Using eye surgery scissors, forceps and magnifying glasses, Maynard cuts the feathers into intricate designs. The feathers are cut and arranged in shadow boxes. The feathers themselves become the basis for the compositions, with the cut-outs, as well as their negative spaces, forming a tiny scene.

Besides carving the feathers into shapes, Maynard also showcases feathers in their natural, and equally beautiful, state. He arranges his collected feathers into striking compositions all on their own.

Several species of African starling, and a European starling in the center.

From the male Himalayan Monal Pheasant, or Impeyan. These feathers all came from a single bird, raised by Maynard himself, and collected when the bird molted each year. The different shapes and colors come from different parts of the bird’s body.

These downy feathers are from the capercaillie, a type of grouse. They look like little ghosts!

Scarlet macaw feathers

This tiny feather comes from an Anna’s hummingbird, and it’s resting on a penny for scale!

These feathers, measuring 1/8 of an inch, are from the Amethyst Sunbird, native to sub-Saharan Africa.

Though he’s been working with feathers since he was 22, Maynard only started showing his work in 2010. In addition to showing his work, he’s also a supporter of conservation laws for the protection of many species of birds and their habitats. In addition, all the feathers used by Maynard are legal to own and sell. 

“Since feathers can represent flight, transformance, healing, and a bridge between our present lives and our dreams, [I’m] grateful that [my] work with feathers has hit a soft-spot in the hearts of many people and cultures,” he says. 

You can check out more (much more!) of his work on his site

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Philip the Dancing Bird (Video)

My bird DancingMy bird Dancing

A bird named Philip dances only to this catchy song:

via VideoSift

Mormon Missionaries Free Baby Ducklings From Storm Drain

Mormon Missionaries Free Baby Ducklings From Storm Drain

Young Mormons are sent out into the world as missionaries at the age of 18. Thought many people may disagree on their religious perspective, few can complain about their manners. They’re just so nice!

Now, this older video from 2010 of a missionary demonstrating his kindness to animals has gone viral. While Dbyankee and his companion were travelling through New Zealand, they stumbled upon a distressed mother duck hovering over a storm grate. They soon realized the baby ducklings had fallen in and were stuck. That’s when they jumped into gear. 


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This Hilarious Bird Really Hates Eating Broccoli And Isn’t Afraid To Show It

Do you remember how much you hated eating your veggies as a kid? Well, this little bird feels your childhood pain.

When Eric (who is basically the cutest little bird ever) was given some broccoli, he flew into a hilarious rage. Just like little humans who drop their corn, peas, and carrots from their high chairs in protest, this little guy showed his parents what was up by doing what is essentially the funniest thing of all time.

Yeah…I don’t think his mom and dad will be giving him broccoli again. Better luck next time, folks.

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Owl Shows Affection To Dog Friend

For some reason, inter species friendships really amazes us humans. Maybe it’s because we’re so tribal, or maybe it’s just because they are so darn cute! This video from 2010 just went viral now, and features an owl and his adorable dog friend who he pets and nibbles on. The dog doesn’t seem to mind unless she gets poked to hard by they huge claws. 


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BirdBuggy – Engineer Creates Tiny Driveable Cart For His Parrot

BirdBuggy – Engineer Creates Tiny Driveable Cart For His Parrot

Viron11111 loves his parrot Pepper, and also loves technology, so he melded his two affections to create the BirdBuggy.

The bird sized cart has a small perch for Pepper to stand on and a tiny joystick to drive in all four directions. 

Amazingly, this bird brain has no problem controlling his new set of wheels, and is now going viralviral after being featured on Reddit


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