Cats go out to play but birds are not on the menu

Latest scientific studies suggest that outdoor cats – both domestic and feral – kill more than 1 billion birds each year. A single domestic cat typically kills between one and 34 birds each year; one feral cat kills an estimated 23 to 46 birds annually.

An invention called the “catio” can help prevent some of those deaths while allowing your four-legged friend to have a taste of the outdoors. Continue reading

New tracking technology reveals birds’ epic and amazing journeys

Tagging a red-necked phalarope in the Shetland Islands. Photograph: Adam Rowland/RSPB

Tagging a red-necked phalarope in the Shetland Islands. Photograph: Adam Rowland/RSPB

Today sees the launch of the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science – and one of the most exciting areas of research the centre will be involved in is tracking birds and other animals as they migrate, forage and breed.

Last June, at the edge of a small loch on the island of Fetlar in Shetland, RSPB conservationists and members of the local bird-ringing group caught a red-necked phalarope, a dainty, sparrow-sized wading bird. Continue reading

Researchers Provide New Insights Into The Origin Of Birds

 Image Caption: Skeleton of the paravian dinosaur Microraptor, from the Early Cretaceous (125 million years ago) of NE China. This dinosaur was experimenting with flight, but its unique kind of flight – gliding using all four feathered limbs – did not lead to anything. Credit: Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Beijing / Wikipedia (CC BY 2.5) Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113078238/evolution-and-origin-of-birds-022414/#HJpiTZuJgWkhHgxl.99

Image Caption: Skeleton of the paravian dinosaur Microraptor, from the Early Cretaceous (125 million years ago) of NE China. This dinosaur was experimenting with flight, but its unique kind of flight – gliding using all four feathered limbs – did not lead to anything. Credit: Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Beijing / Wikipedia (CC BY 2.5)

The key characteristics of birds which allow them to fly – their wings and their small size – arose much earlier than previously thought, according to new research from the Universities of Bristol and Sheffield into the Paraves, the first birds and their closest dinosaurian relatives which lived 160 to 120 million years ago. Continue reading

Mauritius kestrels show long-term legacy of man-made habitat change

 This is a Mauritius kestrel. Credit: Samantha J. Cartwright

This is a Mauritius kestrel. Credit: Samantha J. Cartwright

The widespread loss of forest to sugarcane fields on the island of Mauritius has forced kestrels living there to survive by speeding up their life histories, according to a report published online on February 20 in the Cell Press journal Current Biology. By getting an earlier start, the birds are managing to have just as many offspring, even though they die sooner. Continue reading

Warmer temps push tropical birds up and off mountains

 The crested berrypecker has shifted its ranges up near the summit of Mt. Karimui in Papua New Guinea; predictions suggest that a warming of a further 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit will result in a localized extinction.

The crested berrypecker has shifted its ranges up near the summit of Mt. Karimui in Papua New Guinea; predictions suggest that a warming of a further 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit will result in a localized extinction.

Many tropical mountain birds are shifting their ranges upslope to escape warming temperatures, but tropical species appear to be more sensitive to climate shifts than species from temperate regions, report Cornell Lab of Ornithology researchers Feb. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading