Articles on Birds

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When a jay dies, the chorus cries

New research shows birds are aware of their dead and respond with cacophonous gatherings. The research, which was carried…
The lesser marked weaver’s nest must not only be functional, but also beautiful in order to catch the attention of a female. Fotosearch Stock Photos

Nests: the art of birds

Can the nests of some birds be regarded as works of art, as aesthetic creations worthy of our admiration? Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man that some birds have “fine powers of discrimination…
Tits and social networks have gone together since the dawn of time. Shirley Clarke/Wikimedia

Tits are all a-twitter about the benefits of social networking

While social networking is something many of us have only recently become aware of, a new study by University of Oxford and ANU researchers shows birds have been hanging out on the social network for a…
An introduced species can be invasive without causing native species’ decline. Leaping to conclusions won’t help manage the problem. Degilbo/Flickr

We love to hate the common myna, but what should we do about it?

In Australia we are all too familiar with devastating environmental impacts of introduced species such as foxes, rabbits and cane toads. But did you know that some introduced species may have a relatively…
Birdbrains or copycats: Aesop’s fable offers insight as to how children and birds think. 'Playingwithbrushes'

Fable or truth: are birds as brainy as children?

Humans are very good at innovating and it would seem reasonable to expect our children would be too. But a recent study questions these assumptions, suggesting young children’s ability to problem-solve…
Climate change has led to modified bird migration patterns. Vinoth Chandar

Peter Doherty: why our fine-feathered friends deserve better

Maybe it’s just a normal part of growing older and “taking the time to smell the roses”, but I’ve been finding over the past few years that I’m much more interested in birds. That hasn’t yet turned me…
Chestnut-crowned babblers provide a perfect opportunity to test theories of cooperative breeding. Enchylaena

Babblers show why birds of a feather stick together

Blood is thicker than water when it comes to being a team player – at least if you’re a bird in outback Australia. So shows a new study I was involved in, published this week in the journal Proceedings…

Species with multiple colours evolve faster

Australian researchers have provided the first support for a 60-year-old evolution theory - that species with multiple colours…
Artist’s impression of an individual Yutyrannus. Dr Brian Choo

Dinosaurs of a feather: meet T-Rex’s fluffy cousin

It’s taken a century of debate, but in the past two decades we’re finally understanding where birds came from. Now, with a new study published in the journal Nature, Chinese and Canadian researchers have…
Sydneysiders are spotting - and “status updating” - urban cockatoos. chris jd/Flickr

Social media turns Sydney residents into cockatoo trackers

Loud, large and lovable, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has become a well known inhabitant of Sydney. It has always been present around the fringes of Sydney and west of the Great Dividing Range, but over…
Habitat of the Eastern Curlew along its migratory pathway in east Asia is rapidly being reclaimed for development. Dean Ingwersen

The numbers are in: Australia must do more to protect migratory birds

Australia is a signed up member of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and a strong supporter of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Both these global programs are trying to reduce the rate…
Steve Irwin may be more famous, but corvids are among our most successful expats. Chris73/Wikimedia

Stone the crows! Could corvids be Australia’s smartest export?

Among birds, crows and ravens (or corvids) are the most intelligent. They have the largest brains for body size; they’re more like primates than birds. In fact, some people call them “flying monkeys…
The humble pigeon mightn’t look smart, but it’s no bird-brain. Seamoor

Are pigeons as smart as primates? You can count on it

We humans have long been interested in defining the abilities that set us apart from other species. Along with capabilities such as language, the ability to recognise and manipulate numbers (“numerical…

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