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Tag: Birds

To adapt to cities, birds must grow their brains or grow their families

To adapt to cities, birds must grow their brains or grow their families

Science
March 25 (UPI) -- As the planet becomes increasingly urbanized, many species, including birds, are struggling to adapt to human presence. Urbanization can drive some bird species to extinction, but others are capable of thriving in cities. New research -- published this week in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution -- suggests birds have a choice of two strategies for adapting to urban life. They can either grow bigger brains, or they can produce more offspring. Better understanding how different bird species respond to human development can help policymakers craft more effective conservation and protection plans. "Cities are harsh environments for most species and therefore often support much lower biodiversity than natural environments," lead study author Ferran Sayol, postdoc...
Birds, mammals drove camouflage adaptations of stick, leaf insects

Birds, mammals drove camouflage adaptations of stick, leaf insects

Science
Oct. 7 (UPI) -- In the wake of the disappearance of the dinosaurs, birds and mammals flourished. Their proliferation was bad news for insects and other small prey. According to new research, it was the ascendancy of birds and mammals some 66 million years ago that first inspired the range of camouflage adopted by stick and leaf insects. For the first time, scientists produced a comprehensive phylogenomic tree of stick and leaf insects, revealing their evolutionary interrelations. The research team published the results of the phylogenomic analysis in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Compared to other insects, stick and leaf insects boast unusually large bodies. But the exotic inspects, found in abundance among tropical and subtropical habitats, are most famous for their ca...
Feathers preceded birds by 100 million years

Feathers preceded birds by 100 million years

Science
June 3 (UPI) -- Feathers arrived at least 100 million years before birds, according to a new survey. Using new data in the fields of palaeontology and molecular developmental biology, scientists were able to clarify the evolutionary relationships among dinosaurs, birds and pterosaurs, a group of bird-like flying reptiles. Earlier this year, researchers discovered feathers in pterosaur fossils, the first evidence that feathers emerged much earlier than birds on the evolutionary timeline. "The oldest bird is still Archaeopteryx first found in the Late Jurassic of southern Germany in 1861, although some species from China are a little older," Mike Benton, professor of vertebrate palaeontology at the University of Bristol, said in a news release. "Those fossils all show a diversity of feathe...
Netting to stop birds nesting: Call for new safeguards

Netting to stop birds nesting: Call for new safeguards

Science
Wildlife experts are calling for stricter controls on nets installed over trees and hedgerows amid growing public concern about their use.People are reporting sightings on social media, while an e-petition has collected more than 190,000 signatures.Developers have said the nets, which are designed to stop birds nesting, are "standard practice" on greenery that might be damaged by building work.But the RSPB says they should only be used in exceptional circumstances.The wildlife charity has joined forces with the body that represents trained ecologists to call for new safeguards."Netting is an overly simplistic approach that has become more prominent recently," says the RSPB and The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management in a statement....
Citizen scientists, radar systems count 2B birds migrating across the Gulf of Mexico

Citizen scientists, radar systems count 2B birds migrating across the Gulf of Mexico

Science
Jan. 9 (UPI) -- According to a new study that combined the observations of citizen scientists and weather radar stations, some 2 billion birds cross the Gulf of Mexico during the spring migration season. "We looked at data from thousands of eBird observers and 11 weather radar stations along the Gulf Coast from 1995 to 2015," Kyle Horton, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said in a news release. "We calculated that an average of 2.1 billion birds crosses the entire length the Gulf Coast each spring as they head north to their breeding grounds. Until now, we could only guess at the overall numbers from surveys done along small portions of the shoreline." Observations of birds by citizen scientists, documented on the Cornell Lab-managed app eBird, helped scientists ca...