Australian wrens recognize friends from other species and work together with them

It’s the first time we’ve seen inter-species cooperation in birds.

How birds “see” magnetic fields

Seeing is believing.

Coffee farming “can be a win-win for birds and farmers”, paper finds

It will keep you civil on a Monday morning and keep some bird species happy — it’s coffee!

Bullfinches mate for life, researchers confirm

A new study confirms what was long-time assumed about bullfinches — they keep the same partner throughout their lives. 

Oil and gas noise pollution hinders bird reproduction

Oil machinery stresses birds, leading to fewer eggs and weaker hatchlings.

Scientists turn alligator scales into primitive ‘feathers’

The research suggests the same pathway may have been taken by dinosaurs as they transitioned to birds.

Urban birds use cigarette butts as chemical weapons against parasites

House finches use cigarette butts to ward off ticks. They do so on purpose.

Sleeping around makes it hard to speciate by mixing genes, paper shows

I don’t even want to speciate.

Guillemot chicks leap from their nest, risking life and limb, before they can even fly — and know we know why

The dads really pull through for these chicks.

Some birds play tunes not all that different from jazz musicians

Humans were by no means the first to evolve musicality.

The surprising reason why birds never crash mid-air: they always veer right

Seems to work wonderfully for them.

We’ve finally discovered how birds can sleep and fly at the same time without crashing

Frigatebirds spend weeks at a time flying over oceans in search for food — here’s how they sleep during this time.

Birds in suburbs defend their territory more aggressively than their rural counterparts

City birds aren’t very friendly to each other.

Dinosaurs probably cooed, not roared

Dinosaurs might not have been as terrifying as we thought.

Dino bird wings found in fossilized 100-million-year-old amber look simply stunning

The specimens discovered by the researchers are one of a kind and, unlike previous amber fossils, the feathers were attached to tissue, too.

Research team grows “dinosaur legs” on a chicken for the first time

Researchers have manipulated the genome of chicken embryos so that they develop dinosaur-like bones in their lower legs.

Dinosaur love dance impressed on sandstone offers first glimpse of dino courtship

Birds are literally dinosaurs, so many scientists suspect millions of years ago dinosaurs shared similar courtship tactics like fancy plumage or complex dances to impress potential mates. While fossils can teach us so much about how dinosaurs looked and, in some instances, behaved (herd behavior, diet, hunting patterns etc.), inferences on mating rituals have been speculations at best thus far. A paper published in Scientific Reports offers some of the first tantalizing evidence that supports the idea that dinosaurs indeed employed similar courtship displays to modern birds. The researchers at University of Colorado, Denver found tracks etched into sandstone surfaces to create nest displays, hoping to attract a female to mate with. These scrapes are one of a kind, found nowhere else in the world.

Male ruff birds cross-dress to steal females, and it’s all in their genes

Self-preservation and reproduction are the most powerful instincts, and life forms on Earth have devised all sorts of gimmicks and tactics to become successful (pass on those genes). Just look at the male ruff sneak tactics to grab girls. There are three distinct approaches: the cocky aggressive, the sneaky ‘satellite, and the cross-dresser. You might think this isn’t necessarily peculiar in itself. After all, human males employ similar approaches to seek women’s attention. The peacock, the friend-zone dude, the jock, the joker etc. What’s odd about ruff males is that this behavior is coded inside their genes – from the way they act, to how their plumage looks like. And they’re all, ultimately, males of the same species.

Spring will come three weeks early in the US by 2100

“Spring is coming,” said no Stark ever. You’ve already noticed that the traditional starting dates for each season have become misaligned, and in some instances patterns have changed with shorter winters and longer springs. This trend is set only to exacerbate in the future. By 2100, spring could come three weeks early on average across continental United States. In some parts, like the Pacific Northwest and the mountainous regions of the Western U.S., spring will be a month early. This might sound like good news if you live in Wisconsin, but in the long-run this spells disaster as ecosystems get disrupted by abrupt seasonal changes.

Your smartphone could be a digital ornithologist: software recognizes birds from photos

A group at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology developed a sophisticated facial recognition software specially designed to identify birds for photos. Called the Merlin Bird Photo ID, the software works its magic by employing a combination of image recognition algorithms, deep learning techniques (so it learns from its mistakes and gets better in time) and human collaborators who upload photos and help the software by first identifying the key features that makes a species distinct. The team is now working at turning the software into an app, so that anyone with a smartphone can take photos of a lingering avian wonder then instantly come to know which species it is.