Tagged With birds

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Even the most manoeuvrable aircraft we've designed is no match for the agility of a bird. Mother Nature has all but perfected flight, so why are we wasting our time re-inventing the wheel? As researchers at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne realised, we should just be copying our fine feathered friends.

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Last week, thousands of snow geese died in Montana after landing on "the acidic, metal-laden waters of an old open pit mine" to escape a snowstorm, the AP reported. Montana Resources, the mining company in charge of the toxic water, told the Billings Gazette that the agency won't release the exact number until mid-week, but it estimates about 10,000 birds perished on the evening of November 28.

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Seabird poop: Good for ruining your picnic at the beach, and apparently good for keeping the Arctic cool, too. But if the birds want to stop their summertime home from melting away, they're going to have to start taking laxatives.

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Man, this Costa's hummingbird legitimately looks like it has a shiny purple baby octopus attached to its face like the facehugger in Alien. I mean, look at how wacky it looks, it almost seems as if the octopus was digitally slapped onto the face. But it's not. It looks that way because male Costa's hummingbirds have a beautiful purple cap of feathers that stretch over their head and onto their throat that flares out when they try to court females.

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Each year, around 6,000 birds are incinerated after chasing bugs within the Ivanpah concentrated solar thermal plant in the California Mojave Desert. Officials at the facility are enacting all sorts of measures to prevent this ongoing avian massacre — but it's not clear if anything's working.

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Video: Sure, it may look like the seagull is playing along with the man hiding the food under three cups in an attempt to trick the bird, but know this: Seagulls are jerks who don't care about you or silly games. It is not playing along. It is in complete control. The bird is only pretending because it knows that it's the only way it will get food from this guy (for now). Once the guy exposes his food stash, the seagull is going to attack it and then poop all over the dude who thought it was cute to play games with seagulls.

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Owing to some horrendously long flight times, scientists have speculated that certain birds are capable of sleep during flight. A remarkable new experiment by an international team of researchers has now proven this to be true, showing that birds can catch a snooze while hitching a ride on rising air currents.

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Flamingos are regal, but kind of dopey creatures that are known for standing on one leg for reasons that not even scientists can fully explain. If you've ever wanted to see them look sillier, check out these chicks, which hatched at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio recently.

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Do you hear that sound? It's 65 million years ago and there's a dinosaur calling out through the wilds. But it's not a roar. Instead new research says that sound would probably be better described as a "coo" or a "mumble".

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Finding ancient bugs trapped in amber is a relatively common occurrence, but the recent discovery of two ancient bird wings fossilised in Burmese amber is unprecedented. These 3D fossils — which still contain feather arrangements and traces of soft tissue — are simply amazing.

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Hard to believe, but these two birds pictured above are the same age. The only difference is that the one on the right grew up in an urban environment. It's an observation that's raising questions about the health of birds and other urban animals — including humans.

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Birds are capable of extraordinary behavioural feats, from solving complex puzzles to tool making. There may be good reason for that. A new study shows that, pound for pound, birds pack more neurons into their small brains than mammals, including primates.