bird perched next to a brick atop a trash can
Science Snapshot: Fine Feathered Foes
Australians are resorting to increasingly drastic measures to keep cockatoos out of their garbage bins.
Science Snapshot: Fine Feathered Foes
Science Snapshot: Fine Feathered Foes

Australians are resorting to increasingly drastic measures to keep cockatoos out of their garbage bins.

Australians are resorting to increasingly drastic measures to keep cockatoos out of their garbage bins.

birds
A pair of zebra finches in a cage
Animal Divorce: When and Why Pairs Break Up
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2022
Many species of birds and other vertebrates form pair bonds and mate with just one other individual for much of their lives. But the unions don’t always work out. Scientists want to know the underlying factors.
Bat perching upside down in a cave.
Some Bats Buzz Like Hornets to Deter Predators
Natalia Mesa | May 9, 2022
The behavior is the first example of a mammal mimicking a more-dangerous species.
Brown bird in nest surrounded by pink flowers
Earlier Nesting in Chicago-Area Birds Linked to Warming
Natalia Mesa | Apr 4, 2022
A study finds that dozens of bird species are nesting up to 25 days sooner each year than they were a century ago, likely due to climate change.
colorful parrot-like bird riding a tiny bicycle on a tightrope
Reptiles are the Real Bird Brains
Sophie Fessl | Mar 22, 2022
A research group argues that a species’ number of neurons, rather than brain volume, should serve as indicator of cognitive capacity when studying brain evolution, but some experts voice doubts.
an Australian magpie stares down the camera
Altruism in Birds? Magpies Have Outwitted Scientists by Helping Each Other Remove Tracking Devices
Dominique Potvin | Feb 22, 2022
It was the first time a bird has removed a tracking device, and the second time a bird species showed cooperative “rescue” behavior.
school of fish
Making Waves and Avoiding Beaks
Chloe Tenn | Dec 23, 2021
Moving collectively on the water surface could help protect schools of fish from being eaten by predatory birds.
Cranes in flight
Why Migratory Birds Often Have Paler Wings Than Other Birds
Amanda Heidt | Dec 7, 2021
A new study suggests that lighter colors may help these species stay cool on their long journeys, when birds are pushing themselves to their physiological limits.
Illustration showing how seagull chicks know when predators are lurking
Infographic: Animal Embryos Coopt Sound to Survive and Thrive
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Across the tree of life, animals use sound and other vibrations to glean valuable sensory information about their environments even before they are born.
Conceptual image of an embryo with sound waves
Embryonic Eavesdropping: How Animals Hear and Respond to Sound
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Recent findings buck the traditional idea that embryos are passive agents and instead suggest that by tuning into vibrations, organisms can better prepare to enter the outside world.
Several tadpoles in clear eggs
Slideshow: How Animal Embryos Eavesdrop on the Outside World
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Watch and listen to reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds respond to sound from inside their eggs.
a California condor tending to a chick
Flying Solo: Parthenogenesis Discovered in California Condors
Christie Wilcox | Oct 29, 2021
Genetic analyses uncover asexual reproduction by two female California condors despite access to fertile mates.
Photographs of animals
Numerosity Around the Animal Kingdom
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2021
Research in recent decades has explored how animals other than humans perceive different numbers of objects
a male musk duck
Talking Duck Stuns Animal Behavior Researcher
Christie Wilcox | Sep 5, 2021
Leiden University’s Carel ten Cate tracked down 34-year-old duck recordings—and the man who made them—to verify that musk ducks are capable of vocal learning, an ability that hadn’t been thought to exist in waterfowl.
A European robin on a tree branch
New Study Fuels Debate About Source of Birds’ Magnetic Sense
Catherine Offord | Jun 23, 2021
A detailed analysis of cryptochrome 4 shows that the protein is highly sensitive to magnetic fields in vitro, but some researchers dispute the authors’ assertion that the findings could help explain avian magnetoreception.
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon | Jun 1, 2021
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.
nutshell, pollinators, pesticides, agriculture, crop pest, ecology & environment, insect, toxin, chemical, mammal, bird, fish, plants
US Pesticide Use Is Down, but Damage to Pollinators Is Rising
Amanda Heidt | Apr 5, 2021
The use of pesticides has decreased in the US by more than 40 percent since 1992, but the emergence of more-potent chemicals means that they are far more damaging to many species.
Bald Eagle Killer Identified
Abby Olena | Mar 25, 2021
After a nearly 30-year hunt, researchers have shown that a neurotoxin generated by cyanobacteria on invasive plants is responsible for eagle and waterbird deaths from vacuolar myelinopathy.
Lessons from Darwin’s “Mischievous” Birds
Jonathan Meiburg | Mar 1, 2021
An unsung group of South American falcons yields clues to the prehistory of a continent, and hints at secrets of the avian brain.
animal learning, zebra finch, model organism, communication, fast mapping, individual recognition, cognition, evolution
Zebra Finches Recognize the Calls of Over 40 Fellow Finches
Amanda Heidt | Nov 13, 2020
Their ability to distinguish between individuals is strong evidence for fast mapping, a learning tool generally thought to belong only to humans.