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

Amazing floating bird caught on video

YouTube user Ginger Beard created this illusion of a floating bird by capturing the video at 20 frames per second, the same speed at which the bird flaps its wings.

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♫.(◕∠◕).♫ Witchy Birb

⋋║ ՞ ▽ ՞ ║⋌

乁[ᓀ˵▾˵ᓂ]ㄏ ϵ( ‘◇’ )϶

(´◉◞⊖◟◉`)

( ˘⊖˘)

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How to befriend your neighborhood crows

Befriending crows doesn't appeal to me much. Their dark and ominous ways freak me out a little. My neighborhood murder (which really says all you need to know, doesn't it?) perch in the tree outside my front door for hours at a time, squawking loudly, presumably at my indoor tabby cat who's imprisoned behind the front window. 

However, if YOU want to make friends with crows, be my guest.

Find some food that the crow seems to like. This requires some trial and error, as they can —or maybe it's just the urban ones who can—be surprisingly finicky. You'll know the crow likes it judging by how quickly it swoops down to grab it. If that pile of leftovers sits all day, they just aren't interested, so try something else, only make sure it's healthy. Crows like junk food, but giving it to them is probably not a kind thing to do..
Stock that food. Buy enough so you don't run out. I buy huge bags of unsalted peanuts from Costco...
Establish a regular feeding schedule, so they know when to expect you and vice versa. If you don't establish a rhythm for interaction, the relationship may never gel. And don't feed them so much that they become dependent—just a handful of something to show you care.
Be dependable, steadfast, and observant. Don't just throw the food out there and walk away. Stay (at a safe distance) to watch them eat (or select carefully and fly off to cache it for later).
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Birdhouse window feeders that look like little houses inside

Artist Jada Fitch creates impossibly cute bird feeders that attach to windows, allowing viewers to enjoy the sights of birds inside what looks like a tiny home. Read the rest

Guy puts a camera into a bucket of water, desert creatures sneak sips

Sometimes, the simplest idea makes a great video. Case in point: the fine folks at Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory dropped a GoPro into a bucket of water, to the delight of creatures great and small. Read the rest

Gorgeous aviary of hundreds of papercraft birds

The Paper Aviary just completed a successful free exhibition of beautifully-crafted paper birds. Let's hope it travels following its inaugural success! Read the rest

Crows atop other birds

Crows are smart, and they can be kind of jerks sometimes. To wit: this series of crows perched or riding on top of other birds. Their victims range from indifferent to grumpy. Read the rest

This rainbow lorikeet bird and its human enjoy hissing happily together

A woman shares this video of her rainbow lorikeet “hissing with me in perfect synchrony.”

[video link] Read the rest

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