This is a photo of a hatchling Protoceratops andrewsi fossil from the Gobi Desert Ukhaa Tolgod, Mongolia. (Image by AMNH/M. Ellison)

Dinosaur eggs resemble those of reptiles more than birds

Birds are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs, which is why it was long assumed that dinosaur eggs developed similarly to avian embryos. But new research found that the incubation period for dinosaur embryos was approximately 3 to 6 months, which is closer to the development of reptile eggs. Researchers came to this conclusion after […]

The left bird, Dark batis (Batis crypta) has smaller round wings. The bird on the right, Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus), has long pointy wings evolved for long-distance flying. (Drawing by  Jon Fjeldså)

Shape of bird wings determines their habitat

Flying might give birds more mobility and freedom than some animals on the ground, but a new study shows the extent of that freedom is determined by the bird’s wing shape. Long pointy wings allow their owners to travel longer distances, while shorter, rounder wings restrict the birds’ habitat to a smaller area. Additionally, the […]

In neighborhoods with large concentrations of bird feeders and crows, American robin nests are less successful. (Image by J.Malpass)

Bird feeders, nests, predators and the complex relationship in bird-human environments

Are bird feeders helpful or harmful for your neighborhood’s birds? Recent study shows that the answer to that question is more complex than a simple “yes” or “no”. The four-year study analyzed connections between songbird nests, bird feeders, and predators in Columbus, Ohio. Results varied: for example, in neighborhoods with large crow populations, bird feeders […]

Image by John Flannery via Flickr CC2.0

Tweet louder, I can’t hear you: Highway noise disrupts information transfer between bird species

Communication between birds is disrupted near major roadways, where the noise levels are unnaturally high. According to new research from University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, this avian communication breakdown may help explain the pattern of reduced biodiversity near highways. Authors of the new study were curious about how building homes in […]

Birds which beg their parents the most for food are not always those who receive the most, according to the new analysis. (Image credit: Camilla Hinde)

Which chick to feed? How birds choose

  Which chick gets fed first in a brood seems to depend more on the environment than a chick’s begging or its size. That’s what researchers report after reviewing data on 143 different bird species. When food is plentiful and supplies are stable, birds will usually feed the chicks who beg the most and are […]

An adult male Anna's Hummingbird, similar to the ones captured and used in the study. (Image credit:Pacific Southwest Region United States Fish and Wildlife Service)

How the hummingbird turns

  Hummingbirds control their turning velocity and radius using body orientation and asymmetrical wingbeats, according to a new study. Using a feeder tracking experiment researchers found the birds control their turning velocity by altering their physical orientation, and control their turning radius by beating their wings at slightly different speeds. Researchers filmed six adult male […]

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A bird’s eye view of birds

The view seen by humans (left) and drones (right) when trying to count seabird populations from either the ground or the air. (Image credits: Jarrod Hodgson) A new study compares the accuracy of monitoring of sea bird colonies by UAVs and traditional human ground counts and demonstrates that population estimates can be improved with this […]

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Ravens on their mind

Ravens possess the “Theory of Mind”, or the ability to predict the mental state of others, according to a new study. This is the first time the “Theory of Mind” has been confirmed in an animal other than humans or non-human primates. The researchers fed individual ravens in an enclosed study area, while playing raven […]

Shining Honeycreeper males (right) are dramatically more colorful than females (left).

Male songbirds aren’t colourful, females are just drab

The colour differences seen in the plumage of male and female songbirds is mostly from to the effects of sexual selection upon the female, not the male, according to a new analysis. This challenges the long-held view that males developed more colourful plumage because of sexual selection. Researchers quantified the colouration of nearly 6,000 species […]

A New Caledonian crow observes another using a stick to access insects for food. (Image credit: Jolyon Troscianko)

Branching out of the family

Crows spend most of their social time with family members, but when they need a little extra help to get some food – they’re not averse to enlisting others, according to researchers. New Caledonian crows are a clever group – a species known to use tools to get hard to reach food. Analyzing the activity […]

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