As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Gay flamingo couple adopt cute baby chick after parents abandon newborn bird

Flamingo chickEdinburgh Zoo has added five Chilean Flamingos babies to its flock of 33 adults birds this year, following successful breeding for the first time since 2010.

A little flamingo chick has been taken under the wings of a gay couple after it was abandoned by its parents.
Edinburgh Zoo has added five Chilean Flamingos babies to its flock of 33 adult birds this year, following successful breeding for the first time since 2010.

But one of the chicks had a rough start when its parents knocked it out of the nest.

Luckily, a male couple stepped in and adopted the fluffy chick.

Senior bird keeper Nick Dowling said: "We weren't short of drama in the flamingo flock this year.

K-P fails to take steps to control illegal trade


The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) wildlife department has failed to take steps to control the illegal trade of birds and other animals across the province.

Leopard geckos, black scorpions, turtles, tuatara and myna birds are just a few of the animals that are being poached from K-P, they are then being traded illegally not only in the province but throughout the country and some are even being smuggled out of it.

Like in all other provinces, the black scorpion and the gecko have been pushed to extinction by the greed of poachers but it is the province’s birds that are suffering the most at their hands.

The trade is at its peak but arrests and other measures by wildlife officials is limited to vendors who sells myna, parrots and other colourful birds without obtaining licences to do so. “We are poor people and this is the only way we can make a living,” justified Bahadur Khan, who was arrested by wildlife officials for hunting down dozens of Myna birds.

Nestling birds at risk from noisy environments

Noise from traffic, construction and other human activities is leaving nestling birds unable to communicate with their parents scientists have discovered.

This means they can go hungry or be more vulnerable of becoming a snack for a passing predator, as they are unable to hear their parent’s instructions.

Nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection as they will tell them when it is safe to beg for food, and when they should crouch in the nest to avoid a predator seeking an easy meal.

Without clear instructions and faced with tough competition from hungry siblings, nestling birds instinctively react quickly to any sign that a parent might have food, vigorously begging to attract attention. While this rapid response increases their likelihood of getting a good meal, it also puts them at risk of hastily misidentifying predators as parents. On the other hand, if overly-cautious nestlings fail to hear their parents approach with food, the missed detection could cost them a meal.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

'Extreme Nomad' Bird Puts Your Frequent Flier Miles to Shame

Think you've racked up an impressive number of frequent flier miles? Are you the kind of person to travel at a moment's notice? Sorry, but you've got nothing on the banded stilt. A new study has observed how this remarkable desert-dwelling bird will travel well over a thousand miles at the drop of a hat just to chow down on some incredibly unpredictable prey.
Banded stilts 2 Governors Lake Rotto email.jpg
The study, recently published in the journal Biology Letters, details how Australia's banded stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) has one of the most unpredictable-yet-lengthy migrations among waterbirds.

That's because these unusual waterbirds, which traditionally make thier home along coastal wetlands, exploits an incredibly rich yet-short-lived resource whenever they can.

According to study author Reece Pedler of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, experts had long noticed that on seemingly random occasions, great flocks of the banded still would disappear from their natural habitats for short periods of time, only to return well-fed and healthy.

Continued ...

'Superdell' faces federal charges for allegedly chasing bird with his paraglider

SALT LAKE CITY — Former computer store owner and TV pitchman "Superdell" faces federal charges for allegedly chasing an owl with his motorized paraglider more than three years ago.

Dell Schanze, 45, of American Fork, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court with two misdemeanor counts of knowingly using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird.

A video of a paramotorist chasing and kicking a migratory bird west of Utah Lake surfaced on YouTube in April 2013, drawing sharp criticism from members of the paragliding community who asked federal and state authorities to investigate.

Could bird-killing algae help cure human diseases?

A mysterious toxin may offer clues to such human neurodegenerative diseases as ALS, Parkinson's, and dementia

by LINDSEY KONKEL on OCT 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

J. STROM THURMOND LAKE, Georgia—From their perch in a loblolly pine, two bald eagles swoop low over a floating flock of wintering coots. Most of the water birds scatter, but a few are left struggling on the surface.

They flail on their backs, their wings twitching. They sense danger, but they cannot flee. Choosing its prey, an eagle dives over one of the sick coots, skewering it with sharp talons.

A mysterious toxin—with no name and no cure—lurking in lakes in the South has drilled holes in the brains of these water birds, rendering them unable to swim, eat, and fly. In turn, this poison likely will also destroy the brain of the eagle that ate the coot.

Pair bonding reinforced in the brain: Zebra finches use their specialized song system for simple communication

October 28, 2014


In addition to their song, songbirds also have an extensive repertoire of calls. While the species-specific song must be learned as a young bird, most calls are, as in the case of all other birds, innate. Researchers have now discovered that in zebra finches the song control system in the brain is also active during simple communication calls. This relationship between unlearned calls and an area of the brain responsible for learned vocalizations is important for understanding the evolution of song learning in songbirds.