Tag Archive: birds

Apr 26

Big Question: Why and How do Birds Migrate?

The swallow. A quintessential summer bird if ever there was one. It typically arrives in the UK around now (late April), spends the summer raising its young, and then leaves our shores again in September. The swallows travel back to sub-Saharan Africa and other warm regions to spend the winter. This periodic movement of animals …

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Apr 04

The Stink Bird: Hoatzin

Meet the bird that not only thinks it’s a cow, it also smells like one too. Hailing from the swamps of South America, the hoatzin (pronounced wat-seen) is an eclectic, handsome, albeit highly quirky, bird that divides its time between eating vast quantities of vegetable matter and just lounging around afterwards. Nothing is ever done in …

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Nov 29

Do Fish Drink? (and other mini questions)

In September, I published a post entitled ‘Why are moths attracted to flames? (and other mini questions)’, which aimed to answer questions about the natural world that were neither large nor detailed enough to have their own entries. But one post certainly wasn’t enough to answer the myriad of mysteries concerning the animal kingdom, so …

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Sep 23

Animal Relationships: Drongo and Babblers

Meet the gangsters of the bird world – the drongo mafia. What is a drongo, you say? Well, it’s a small black fork-tailed bird from Africa, and whilst it doesn’t sound like much, it’s actually quite a sneaky little customer. That’s one in the picture underneath. The drongos have a relationship with another little bird, …

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Sep 17

The ‘Missing Link’: Archaeopteryx

I’ve spent the last week in Berlin for my birthday, and although the highlight was visiting the zoo (seeing, amongst many other things, my very first manatees), I also went to the Berlin Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum). The museum is not only home to the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world but also …

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Sep 10

Fowl Play: Mike the Headless Chicken

Exactly sixty-eight years ago to this day, in 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen from Colorado, United States, had his mother-in-law round for supper. As per the request of his wife, Lloyd went into the backyard to kill one of their chickens to be cooked. Lloyd picked a young cockerel named Mike, took his axe and chopped …

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Sep 03

Animal Record Holders: Longest Migration

The famous wildebeest migration of the Serengeti and the great salmon run of North America are just two examples of epic migrations undertaken by animals – and they both pale in comparison to a small seabird that weighs less than half a pound: the Arctic tern. The name ‘Arctic tern’ is somewhat misleading because it …

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Aug 30

A Cuckoo in the Nest

Being a parent is tough. All you have to look forward to is less sleep, less time to do your own things, and generally one or more hungry mouths to feed. Raising young is a very energetically demanding activity, so the cuckoo has done away with it altogether. It appears in the British Isles in …

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