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Tag: songbirds

Colourful songbirds could be traded to extinction

Colourful songbirds could be traded to extinction

Science
Rick Stanley/Gabby SalazarUniquely coloured songbirds are at high risk of extinction, because they are in demand as pets, research has shown. The pet songbird trade in Asia has already driven several species close to extinction, with birds targeted primarily for their beautiful voices.Now a study has revealed that particular colours of plumage put birds at greater risk of being taken from the wild and sold.Researchers say breeding birds in captivity for the trade could help."That won't work for all species," said lead researcher Prof Rebecca Senior, from the University of Durham. "But there's hope that we could shift the sourcing [of some pet birds] - so they're captive-bred rather than caught in the wild."Why scientists are freezing threatened speciesEndangered bird 'has forgotten its son...
Competition leaves a permanent genetic imprint on the brains of songbirds

Competition leaves a permanent genetic imprint on the brains of songbirds

Science
March 22 (UPI) -- New research suggests a single competitive interaction can leave a lasting genetic impression on the brains of songbirds. Competition for territory, mates and prey drive evolution, but evolutionary changes are often only visible across vast timescales. Advertisement Scientists at Indiana University wanted to find out how competition inspires genetic changes among individual songbirds. In previous experiments, researchers found frequent competition alters gene expression in the brains of birds, inspiring more aggressive behavior -- perhaps, preparing birds for future competitive bouts. For the latest study, published this week in the journal PNAS, researchers worked to zoom in on these short-term changes in order to better understand how competition in the short-term ins...
Traffic noise impairs songbirds’ abilities

Traffic noise impairs songbirds’ abilities

Science
Alan TranA test of songbirds' problem-solving skills has revealed how traffic noise impairs the animals' abilities. Scientists set zebra finches a "battery of foraging tasks" in the presence or absence of the noise. They found that the sound of passing cars diminished the birds' ability to find food. The results, published in the journal Proceedings B, suggest that noise pollution has "previously unconsidered consequences for wildlife".Victoria GillScientists examine the great 'human pause'How the blackest fish in the sea 'disappear'Prof Christopher Templeton from Pacific University in Oregon, US, led the study, which he carried out in a behavioural lab with zebra finches. The researchers set the birds the tasks both in a quiet setting and while a recording of road traffic was played. "Jus...
Why songbirds can overeat and not get fat

Why songbirds can overeat and not get fat

Science
Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Songbirds living near bird feeders have access to an unlimited supply of food, and yet, they never seem to gain weight. According to research published this week in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, instead of precisely controlling food intake, songbirds may be able to adjust the way their bodies use energy. "The passerine birds at the bird feeders near my home never seem to get fat despite having this buffet constantly available to them, but there are people who get heavy when exposed to that kind of all-you-can-eat environment," Lewis Halsey, an environmental biologist at the University of Roehampton, said in a news release. Halsey argues there is more to weight control than calorie intake. Birds with access to bird feeders may increase their exercise by sin...