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Birds

Why do starlings dance in the sky?

Flocks of several hundred thousand starlings can fly swiftly in coordinated and mesmerising formations, even when trying to evade predator birds. Why do they do it, and more significantly, how?

Be careful not to overfeed wild birds

It gives advantages to certain species but can make life – and survival – harder for others, warns an ornithologist.

Northern European peatland birds down more than one third since 1981

But urgent conservation actions could reverse this trend.

Clever ravens can plan one step ahead

The birds are as good at planning as a four-year-old child or a chimpanzee.

Birdsong is genetically coded

Nature or nurture? Until now, ornithologists assumed that birds passed on their unique songs predominantly via social learning. But a new Swedish study shows that genetics may be a bigger factor.

Zebra stripes keep birds from colliding with aircraft

Colliding with birds can cause an airplane to crash. Researchers are working on ways to scare birds away from planes, and zebra stripes have so far proven effective.

Uncovering the secrets of Arctic seabird colonies

Seabirds nest by the hundreds of thousands in colonies along the Norwegian coast. Now, scientists have uncovered the factors that help determine the location of seabird nesting colonies.

Why do female birds mate with more than one male?

Possibly for protection, according to one study. The potential fathers will work together to stop predators from attacking their young. Ths challenges established ideas about the passive female, says philosopher.

Conservative seabirds in a squeeze

Seabirds don’t like changes. This trait can kill them.

Ravens can be as clever as chimps

A Swedish study shows that corvids – birds of or resembling the crow family – can be just as smart at certain tasks as chimpanzees, even though their brains are very much smaller.