Forty songbirds found dead in Vienna, Austria last month were killed after slamming into windows while flying under the influence of fermented, rotten berries. Read the AP story Birds die from flying ‘drunk’ into windows.
Category Archives: Offbeat
Twenty pigeons will be fitted with high-tech backpacks and set free over San Jose, California this August in order to monitor air quality. The data they collect on air pollution, including photos taken from miniature cameras, will be posted on a special “pigeon blog”.
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The Sun City Million Dollar is an international pigeon race which concludes 4 February in Sun City, South Africa. This year more than 4,000 pigeons will participate in the final leg. The pigeons have competed in training and practice races since October. The final race will be 632 kilometers. Participants come from all over the world; this year there are 74 birds from the Netherlands enrolled. Birds from Namibia, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Sweden participate, along with birds from 22 other countries.
Birdwatchers have been visiting Yates, New York, to glimpse the rare Northern Hawk Owl which has been spotted there. Some birders have brought a tasty snack to try and entice the bird to come out its perch – mice. Local homeowners have complained that the mice fortunate enough to escape the owl’s talons have taken up in their homes. Read the story Bird lovers ruffling feathers of homeowners by setting mice free on Syracuse.com.
Kaytee Products of Chilton Wisconsin is producing a wild bird feed with supplements such as ginger, garlic and echinacea, aimed at keeping the back yard visitors healthy. Read more in the Green Bay Press-Gazette story Chilton company boosts nutrients in wild bird food.
A talking parrot’s repeated mentioning of another man’s name wasn’t enough to arouse any suspicion in his owner. But when the parrot, named Ziggy, cried out “I love you, Gary”, Chris Taylor knew something was up. Read Paul Stokes story in the Telegraph.
In an article to be published in the scientific journal Biology Letters, two Dutch experts claim to have discovered a bird species with three different types of male manifestations. The newly identified third type of male ruff (Philomachus pugnax) differs from others genetically as well as behaviorally. The discovery was made by bird expert Joop Jukema, who co-wrote the Biology Letters article with Theunis Piersma of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
The ruff, a type of sandpiper, has been nearly wiped out of the Netherlands as a resident bird due to an inability to compete with modern farming methods. In the spring and fall, however, the birds are found in the Netherlands in great numbers as they migrate between their winter homes in western Africa to their summer residences in Scandinavia and Siberia.
Known as kemphanen in Dutch, the ruff was already known to have two types of male examples. The initial discovery was made fifty years ago by the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. One male type was the “baseman”, who would defend a small territory against other basemen. The other type was the “satellite”, which defends no area but lives among and is tolerated by the basemen. The satellites are recognized by their white crown and collar. Basemen come in different color combinations.
Female ruffs, who are uniformly brown in color with no distinguishing markings, choose their mating partners, and they may choose one or more in a season. Basemen and satellites are equally popular among females.
The newly-discovered third male type is much smaller than basemen and satellites, but larger than females. It wears an inconspicuous brown coloring without any distinguishable crown or collar. And they only make up 1-2% of the population. Until their discovery, they were assumed to be females. The discoverers have named the type “faren”, an old Frisian word for patriarch, because they suspect that the birds may embody the original male of the species.
The faren not only resemble females, but also in some ways behave like them. In fact, they show interest in the basemen and frequently mate with them. Only one time has one been observed mating with a female. The experts speculate that the faren mate with the females secretly.
Since the testicles of the faren are at times larger than those of the basemen, researches speculate that the faren mate with the basemen and satellites in order to increase the basemen and satellites’ sperm count during the mating season.
Source: Travestieten met homoseksueel gedrag ontdekt bij kemphaan Transvestite with homosexual behavior discovered in the ruff
“Scientists announced on Thursday they had definitive proof that the ‘Taung child‘, a 2-million year old apeman skull famed as one of the most dramatic human evolutionary finds, was killed and eaten by an eagle.”