"For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species—vividly demonstrated by animated maps showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle."
"Birds are some of the most adaptable animals on Earth, finding ways to survive in a variety of habitats on all seven continents. But since humans rarely take time to sing their praises, here's a graphical tribute to the impressive achievements of our avian neighbors."
"Birds perform amazing physical feats every day, from simply taking flight and catching prey to swimming 25 mph or soaring 37,000 feet high. In the second part of MNN's Pop Science Guide to Birds, we examine the mechanics behind some of these unique skills."
"Humans have a strange fascination with birds, whether it's Tweety, Big Bird, the chicken or the dodo. In the third and final installment of MNN's Pop Science Guide to Birds, we examine the cultural and biological roots of this unique relationship."
"Known for the humming sound created by their fast-beating wings, hummingbirds make up the family Trochilidae and are among the world’s smallest birds. These flower pollinators can be found throughout much of the Western Hemisphere and have long beaks and tongues perfectly evolved for drinking nectar. Learn about this amazing and diverse family of birds."
"Sure we know Donald and Daffy, but there’s much more to ducks than we’ve seen in cartoons. In reality, ducks—members of the Anatidae family—are extraordinarily complex creatures, the product of millions of years of evolutionary adaptation. Here are some facts and stats about ducks."
"Popularized by the Harry Potter series, snowy owls—with their striking white plumage to match their Arctic home—look perfect for the world of wizards. Although their white feathers set them apart, like all owls, they come with a set of adaptations that make them fierce birds of prey. Here are some facts and stats about (Bubo scandiacus)."
"Ratites are a group of mostly flightless birds that come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. The name ratite derives from the word Latin word ratis or raft, referring to their flat breast bones that lack the sharp keel found in flying birds. The largest and most famous species living today is the African ostrich. However, it is dwarfed by the extinct elephant birds of Madagascar that may have stood 10 feet tall (3 meters) and and weighed as much as 1100 pounds (500 kilograms). The smallest members of the group are the tiny tinamous of Central and South America that barely stand eye-to-eye with a chicken."
"There are 18 species of penguin & all but 3 are Near Threatened to Endangered"
"How does evolution happen? Through a gradual process called selection. Individuals that are better equipped to survive and reproduce pass those traits to their offspring. These “selected” changes accumulate over thousands of years. We tend to think of natural selection—”survival of the fittest”—but sexual selection works the same way and can be just as strong in shaping how species look and act."
"There is a dizzying diversity of species on our planet. From genetic evidence we know that all of those species evolved from a single ancient ancestor. But how does one species split into many? Through the evolutionary process of speciation—which begins when populations become isolated by changes in geography or by shifts in behavior so that they no longer interbreed. The speciation process is the basis of earth’s biodiversity."
"Explore more at http://www.birdsofparadiseproject.org
The 39 species of birds-of-paradise include tiny, starling-sized birds and big, crow-sized birds; birds in vivid blues, greens, and reds; birds with head plumes, tail plumes, back plumes, chest plumes, and no plumes; mountain birds and swamp birds; branch dancers, pole dancers, ballerina dancers. The Birds-of-Paradise Project is the first to capture all 39 in stills and video. Catch a glimpse of every one of them here."
"They are found only from eastern Australia to New Guinea and surrounding islands. They thrive at many elevations, from swampy lowlands to cloud forests more than two miles above sea level. With abundant food, varied habitats, and few predators the birds have been free to evolve with great diversity. The 39 species can be as small as 8 inches or as large as 49 inches, and plumage ranges from drab to dazzling." [via National Geographic]
"This spellbinding animation from the American Museum of Natural History's new exhibition 'Dinosaurs Among Us' traces the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to birds."
Learn more about “Dinosaurs Among Us”:
"The discovery that birds evolved from small carnivorous dinosaurs of the Late Jurassic was made possible by recently discovered fossils from China, South America, and other countries, as well as by looking at old museum specimens from new perspectives and with new methods. ... The ancestor of all living birds lived sometime in the Late Cretaceous, and in the 65 million years since the extinction of the rest of the dinosaurs, this ancestral lineage diversified into the major groups of birds alive today."
Evolution of a Wing; The Path to Birds
"In the second film of the Great Transitions trilogy, paleontologist Julia Clarke takes us on a journey to uncover the evidence that birds are dinosaurs."
"What makes flamingos go from grey to pink? And can the same thing happen in humans? Quick Questions explains!"
"Quick question: why do flamingos stand on one leg? Hank explains as quickly as he can!"
"In this episode of SciShow we look at the most fascinating birds that hover!"
"Herein we explain that birds do not hibernate in lakes, do not migrate to the moon, but DO go on very unique journeys, which we humans have learned about in a variety of ingenious manners."
"Ever wonder what it looks like from a birds-eye-view? Hank explains they see more than you think!"
"You’re having a dream, and for some reason that giant rabbit that’s about to eat you starts to sing like a bird. You wake up to find that birds are singing outside your window! Check out this SciShow Quick Question to find out why those birds sing in the morning!"
"The Galápagos finches remain one of our world’s greatest examples of adaptive radiation. Watch as evolutionary biologists Rosemary and Peter Grant detail their 40-year project to painstakingly document the evolution of these famous finches. Their pioneering studies have revealed clues as to how 13 distinct finch species arose from a single ancestral population that migrated to the islands 2 million to 3 million years ago."
"Did you wake up today with a craving for clay, or dirt? That’s called pica, an abnormal craving for substances other than typical food. If you went ahead and acted on your impulse, it's probably a good idea to head over to your doctor’s office. Research indicates that in most cases this craving is a result of a mineral or vitamin deficiency. This brings us to this week’s Today I Learned, as National Geographic Society grantee and ornithologist Luke Powell explains why macaws regularly munch on South American rain forest clay. Yummy!
All animals (including humans) need salt to live. Animals that live in the Amazon rain forest face a curious predicament due to the way the Andes mountain range affects weather coming from the Pacific Ocean. This geography results in an extreme lack of salt in the Amazon and, consequentially, some unique behaviors and appetites."
[via National Geographic]
"To look at the evolution of modern bird feathers, we must start a long time ago, with the dinosaurs from whence they came. We see early incarnations of feathers on dinosaur fossils, and remnants of dinosaurs in a bird's wish bone. Carl Zimmer explores the stages of evolution and how even the reasons for feathers have evolved over millions of years."
"By calling to their eggs, zebra finch parents may be helping their young prepare for a hotter world brought on by climate change."
[Via Science Magazine]
"How do they do it? Penguins standing on ice, not only for days, but their whole lives! And their feet don’t hurt like ours would. It has something to do with blood and an amazing twist that penguins have developed."
"Infrared imaging reveals that the birds lose excess heat from their feet, eyes, and wingpits. Learn more: http://scim.ag/1NpqK5q "
[via Science Magazine]
"This dataset shows the migration of 118 species of terrestrial bird populations in the Western Hemisphere. Each dot represents the estimated location of the center of each species’ population for each day of the year. These estimations come from millions of observations from the eBird citizen-science database. eBird is a real-time, online checklist program, launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, that allows birdwatchers to enter their observations.
The colors in this dataset represent the average daily air temperature at the surface, calculated from observations from 1981-2010. The yellow and red colors represent warmer air, while blues show areas below freezing."
--via NOAA Science on a Sphere http://sos.noaa.gov/Datasets/dataset.php?id=640