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  1. On a rocky outcrop in an Ecuadoran nature reserve, a pair of prolific Andean condors are giving conservationists a glimmer of hope that the species, under threat from poisoning and hunting, could yet survive and thrive. View the full article
  2. Millions of ibis and birds of prey mummies, sacrificed to the Egyptian gods Horus, Ra or Thoth, have been discovered in the necropolises of the Nile Valley. Such a quantity of mummified birds raises the question of their origin: Were they bred, like cats, or were they hunted? Scientists from the CNRS, the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and the C2RMF have carried out extensive geochemical analyses on mummies from the Musée des Confluences, Lyon. According to their results, published on 22nd September 2020 in the journal Scientific Reports, they were wild birds. View the full article
  3. Most wild animals show a suite of predator avoidance behaviors such as vigilance, freezing, and fleeing. But these are quickly reduced after the animals come into contact with humans through captivity, domestication, or urbanization, according to a study led by Benjamin Geffroy from MARBEC (Institute of Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation), publishing September 22nd in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. View the full article
  4. Birds tweet, squawk, chirp, hoot, cluck, and screech to communicate with each other. Some birds have found another way to talk, though: they make sounds by fluttering their feathers or smacking their wings together really fast. Scientists just discovered another species that makes sounds with its feathers, a bird from the American tropics called the Fork-tailed Flycatcher. And by analyzing recordings of the birds in flight, the researchers found that subspecies with different migration patterns have different "dialects" to their feather sounds, possibly helping contribute to them splitting into separate species. View the full article
  5. Conservation planning can be greatly improved to benefit human communities, while still protecting biodiversity, according to University of Queensland research. View the full article
  6. A new report on biological collections from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine points to the need for sustainability, digitization, recruitment of a diverse workforce, and infrastructure upgrades to meet the challenges now facing science and society. The report, "Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century," says these collections are a critical part of the nation's science and innovation infrastructure and a fundamental resource for understanding the natural world. View the full article
  7. Confuciusornis was a crow-like fossil bird that lived in the Cretaceous ~120 million years ago. It was one of the first birds to evolve a beak. Early beak evolution remains understudied. Using an imaging technique called Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF), researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) address this by revealing just how different the beak and jaw of Confuciusornis were compared to birds we see today. View the full article
  8. Billions of birds die annually from collisions with windows, communication towers, wind turbines, and other human-made objects. One reason is that birds see a reflection of the sky in the object and think they're flying into an unobstructed path. View the full article
  9. How do birds make decisions and which brain regions are particularly active when they solve tasks? Researchers from the Department of Biopsychology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) are investigating these questions. So far, only anesthetized birds and therefore passive experiments could be examined using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thus, the examination of brain processes during active tasks was not possible. Now the cognitive neuroscientists at the Biopsychology lab have constructed an experimental set-up which allows them to carry out fMRI examinations on awake pigeons and thus also investigate cognitive processes for the first time. They published their results online in the journal Nature Communications on 18 September 2020. View the full article
  10. Maureen Murray, V03, director of Tufts Wildlife Clinic and clinical associate professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, has been studying rodenticide exposure in birds of prey for over a decade. Exposure to rodenticides occurs when people use these chemicals to kill unwanted pests. Mice and rats, or possibly other animals, eat the poison, and then the birds eat the poisoned prey. View the full article
  11. Veterinary surgeon Jose Coto's clinic at the El Salvadoran environment ministry has its hands full as it cares for a wide array of injured, neglected or abused wild animals in the Central American country. View the full article
  12. Entire wildlife areas have been destroyed and endangered populations of animals gravely depleted by wildfires burning in Eastern Washington. View the full article
  13. Long-distance animal migrations can trigger relapse of dormant infections, influencing when and where infection risk peaks, according to a new paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The findings demonstrate that relapse can increase or decrease infection levels in migratory species, depending how deadly the disease is, and where in the migratory range it can be transmitted. As migratory animals often carry diseases that can jump from animals to humans, understanding how migratory relapse can shape infection risk has implications for public health. View the full article
  14. Many of the characteristics related to auditory attention in birds match those of humans, according to a study from the University at Buffalo. View the full article
  15. Compared with other migratory birds, the common swift follows a very unusual pattern when it migrates from the breeding areas in Europe to its wintering locations south of the Sahara. This is what researchers have observed in a major eleven-year international study of the birds. View the full article
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