Posted tagged ‘birds’

Toucan’s Bill Helps It Chill Out

August 10, 2009

j0438312The Toco toucan’s large colorful bill has a cool purpose, according to a recent study in Science.  The toucan’s bill, filled with blood vessels, is used to cool the bird when it is hot by pumping blood through the bill.  When cool, blood flow can be decreased to conserve heat.  Scientists are curious to discover what other birds also use their bills to regulate body temperature.   For more information, see ScienceNews.

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Mockingbirds Recognize Individual People

July 6, 2009
A Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) taking shelter from the rain in a Weeping Holly tree in North Carolina.  Photo credit:  Ken Thomas/Wikipedia

A Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) taking shelter from the rain in a Weeping Holly tree in North Carolina. Photo credit: Ken Thomas/Wikipedia

Recent research by Doug Levey & his colleagues finds that mockingbirds are able to recognize humans who are threats to their nests from among hundreds of other people.  Volunteers for the study would approach nests on the University of Florida campus at different times of day, from different directions, & wearing different clothes.  The mockingbirds responded to the volunteers’ visits with increasing agitation.  At first the mockingbirds engaged in alarm calls, but the behavior escalated to dive-bombing volunteers & responding earlier, picking out the volunteer when s/he was still approaching the nest.  New volunteers were greeted with the initial alarm behavior.  For more information on this study, see Discover Magazine.

Amazing Hummingbird Stunts

July 3, 2009
Male Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) in Patagonia, Arizona.  Photo credit:  Mdf/Wikipedia

Male Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) in Patagonia, Arizona. Photo credit: Mdf/Wikipedia

The dives that male Anna’s hummingbirds (Calypte anna) perform during courtship dances are some of the most astounding in the animal kingdom.  At their peak speed in the dive, they are traveling at 61 miles per hour.  Adjusted for body length, this makes them the fastest bird on Earth.  Even more astonishing is the maximum g-force they reach in pulling up out of their dives.  According to new research, they experience more than 9 times the force of gravity, a number that can cause human pilots to blackout.  For more information on this study, see ScienceNews.

Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Science Cafe, June 16 @7pm

June 9, 2009

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Do you need some intellectual stimulation this summer? Miss having something new to talk about? Then come to the next Science Cafe at Cafe Semolino in Hays, KS on Tuesday, June 16 at 7pm. The topic of the day :

How stable isotopes in bird feathers give us a sense of place in time, presented by Dr. Dave Rintoul, biochemist and amateur birder, KSU Division of Biology

Like birds? Like nuclear chemistry/physics? Never thought you would see all of these topics in the same line? Come find out more at the Science Cafe.

 

Free Lecture Tomorrow Evening at Sternberg Museum

April 10, 2009

song birdJust in time to discuss the songs of spring, the Sternberg Museum is pleased to welcome guest speaker Ruth Beasley. If Ruth’s name does not strike a chord, her voice certainly will! Ruth hosts the popular weekly radio show, Learning the Birds on High Plains Public Radio. On Saturday, April 11 at 5pm in Sternberg’s Engel Education Center, Ruth will present Listening to the Birds, how to identify birds by sound. Tune in for her “ears-on” demonstration that encourages audience participation and friendly competition to determine who has the keenest ears.

Free Lecture at Sternberg Museum on April 11

April 2, 2009

song birdJust in time to discuss the songs of spring, the Sternberg Museum is pleased to welcome guest speaker Ruth Beasley. If Ruth’s name does not strike a chord, her voice certainly will! Ruth hosts the popular weekly radio show, Learning the Birds on High Plains Public Radio. On Saturday, April 11 at 5pm in Sternberg’s Engel Education Center, Ruth will present:  Listening to the Birds, how to identify birds by sound. Tune in for her “ears-on” demonstration that encourages audience participation and friendly competition to determine who has the keenest ears.

File Under: How Terrible!

March 20, 2009
Worcester's buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri)

Worcester's buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri)

A rare quail found in the Philippines, previously thought to be extinct, was photographed right before it was whisked away and sold as food in the local market!  The KAMS Blog thinks it was actually sort of cute (for a bird), but hopefully there are few more in the wilds of the Philippines.  For more information see the National Geographic website here.