Charming birdhouses that look like retro camping trailers

Nashville maker One Man One Garage created these fun flat-pack birdhouse kits that assemble into vintage campers. Read the rest

When birds sound like heavy metal and hardcore vocalists

TIL two things:

1. YouTube is home to the world's only heavy metal-themed talk show. It's called Two Minutes to Late Night.

2. Vocalists of all metal subgenres often shriek and squawk like birds. To prove it, the Two Minutes to Late Night host recently asked ornithologist Tom Stephenson of BirdGenie (an app that identifies birds by their sounds), "What Birds Do Metal Singers Sound Like?" He had no problem matching birds to their metal equivalent.

For instance, the (most-non-metal) bird expert (ever) identified the Northern Potoo as a close match to the screeching vocals of Converge's 2001 metalcore song "Concubine." Ok, sure.

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

Allow these birds to chirp away your misery

Everything is kind of terrible right now. Do yourself a solid by spending a few minutes watching this fine fellow feed a flock of finches. Read the rest

Round birds

Finnish photographer Ossi Saarinen has gotten quite adept at taking photos of birds facing directly to camera, making each bird look adorably round, like the cute shot above. Read the rest

Couple commits to painting 365 mini birds, one a day

Nayan and Vaishali originally planned to make one piece of miniature art daily for 30 days, but following a great response for the first month, they decided to go for a full year. Lucky us! Above: a Baya Weaver Bird. Read the rest

Parrot requests ice cream

Consider the above Exhibit A. Below, Exhibit B.

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'One in a million' yellow cardinal sighted at backyard feeder

Late last month, a woman in Alabaster, Alabama spotted an unusual bird in her backyard feeder, which was soon revealed to be an extremely rare yellow-pigmented Northern cardinal.

AL.com reports:

Auburn University biology professor Geoffrey Hill said the cardinal in the photos is an adult male in the same species as the common red cardinal, but carries a genetic mutation that causes what would normally be brilliant red feathers to be bright yellow instead.

Alabaster resident Charlie Stephenson first noticed the unusual bird at her backyard feeder in late January and posted about it on Facebook. She said she's been birding for decades but it took her some time to figure out what she was seeing.

"I thought 'well there's a bird I've never seen before'," Stephenson said. "Then I realized it was a cardinal, and it was a yellow cardinal."

... Hill -- who has literally written books on bird coloration -- said the mutation is rare enough that even he, as a bird curator and researcher has never seen one in person.

"There are probably a million bird feeding stations in that area so very very roughly, yellow cardinals are a one in a million mutation."

However, an expert at the National Audubon Society has a different theory on why the bird's plumage is yellow:

As Geoff LeBaron, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count director, points out, the cardinal’s crest and wing feathers look frayed in photos. While wear and tear is a natural part of a bird’s life, it can be exacerbated by a poor diet or environmental stressors.
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United Airlines denied a woman trying to fly with her emotional support peacock

United Airlines barred Dexter, an emotional support peacock, from boarding a flight at Newark International Airport on Saturday. From the Washington Post:

United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”

“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” an airline spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday to The Washington Post...

The peacock’s owner, who was identified by the Associated Press as Ventiko, a photographer and performance artist in New York, told the news agency that she bought the bird its own ticket.

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Photo of murmuration of starlings looks like a giant starling

Photographer Daniel Biber caught some spectacular sunset images showing murmurations of starlings. In the most remarkable of these, the murmuration itself looked like a starling. Read the rest

UK retailer refunds money over bleachy, rotting christmas turkeys

Britain's largest supermarket chain has refunded customers who said the Tesco turkeys tasted like they were soaked in bleach or were rotten.

Among them was events manager Kirsten Shore, from Stafford. The 29-year-old was hosting eight guests alongside husband Dan. Her mother had bought and prepared the turkey which was kept in the fridge until it was cooked. She said it wrecked the meal, which had cost £250, and made guests sick. She took to Twitter to contact Tesco. Image caption Events manger Kirsten was one of a number of people to take to Twitter to complain about Tesco turkeys

She said: "I took a mouthful of turkey and spat it out. It tasted of bleach and everyone else realised the reason everything was a bit funny was because the gravy was made from the giblets.

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Rhea running at 30mph

As a youngster in England, my mental image of the roadrunner (Geococcyx Californianus) was just as the cartoon roadrunner (Accellerati Incredibilis) depicted. Almost as large as a coyote. An enormous blue bird of a size and weight approaching that of an emu, or ostrich. After moving to New Mexico, then, there came the inevitable moment of wonder and correction, when I first saw a wee bird sprinting along, and it dawned on me that I beheld the true form of the roadrunner.

But my dream of seeing a huge flightless bird fleeing from a knife-and-fork-weilding wolf in a napkin was not dead, and is now 50% completed thanks to this clip from Brazil.

Previously:

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These woodpeckers are so weird scientists thought they were communists

Acorn woodpeckers create acorn granaries that hold tens of thousands of acorns. Scientists are especially interested in their living arrangements, once described by Cold War ornithologists as communism. Read the rest

The strange, musical world of birdsong contests

At contests in Southeast Asia, bird trainers compete to see whose bird is the best singer. From Clive Bell's article in The Wire:

My colleague, accordionist Mike Adcock, chanced upon one this year in a market in Cianjur, West Java. A dozen cages were suspended high up, while below men with clipboards assessed the singing. In central Jakarta contests can attract hundreds of entrants, passionate bird trainers arriving along with their white-rumped shamas, green bulbuls or hill blue flycatchers. On one level it’s a (largely male) social occasion, on another there’s a lot of prize money at stake. A ten minute video from Phuket in Thailand shows the competitors desperately encouraging their birds from the sidelines, bending the rules by gesturing, whistling or blowing kisses. A bird with potential may be worth as much as a Toyota Fortuner. In fact a belief that it’s unlucky to put a price on a bird means they are more likely to be bartered for goods such as cars. The judges, some of whom are women, are assessing melody, rhythm and volume. One contest in Phuket demands that birds sing eight specific pitches within a defined time period...

Many of us probably feel that natural birdsong, encountered in the wild, is a particularly beautiful form of sound, and needs protecting, rather than improving via human intervention. But there are plenty who believe, for both financial and aesthetic reasons, that birds could do better, and that thorough education can raise a bird to greater heights of achievement.

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This Cockatoo woke up with a serious case of bird attitude

“Yes, human, I knocked over your cup. What are you gonna do about it? Nothing." Read the rest

Beauties from the 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards

Nature Photographers Ltd and the British Trust for Ornithology have announced the 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Award winners. Above: Great Snipe silhouette by Torsten Green-Petersen, Honourable Mention in the Bird Behaviour category. Read the rest

Watch 30 hummingbirds frolic in a fountain simultaneously

The number of hummingbirds sharing this pool is astonishing, given how aggressive they usually are toward each other. Read the rest

Crocheted pigeon costumes for dressing them up as extinct birds

Laurel Hope Roth, a former park ranger turned artist, has spent parts of the last decade creating intricate crocheted Biodiversity Reclamation Suits for Urban Pigeons. Read the rest

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