Posts tagged: bird
Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum), Nanyuki, Kenya
This species occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although it nests in somewhat wetter habitats. It is non-migratory. The Grey Crowned Crane is about 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs). The sexes are similar, although males tend to be slightly larger. Like all cranes, it feeds on insects and other invertebrates, reptiles, small mammals, as well as grass seeds. The cranes of this genus are the only capable of roosting in trees, because of the structure of the feet…
(read more: Wikipedia) (photo: David Bygott)
A Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) male inflates its neck pouch to attract a mate. This is one of the photos in a new book by zoologist and wildlife photographer Mark Carwardine.
Picture: Mark Carwardine / Nature Picture Library / Rex Features (via Pictures of the day: 12 June 2012 - Telegraph)
Wing of a Blue Roller, 1512, Albrecht Durer
Unique Impaling Behavior of Shrikes
by Jolle Jolles
There are many fascinating stories to be told about the unique feeding behaviours of the 10,000 or so bird species that roam the earth. From hitting your head against a tree trunk 20 times a second, eating bones, drinking nectar, or cleaning a crocodiles teeth! However, one of the most ferocious and graphic ones must be that of the shrike family.
Shrikes are formidable hunters that have the habit of catching insects and small mammals and impaling their dead bodies on thorns! Since they don’t have clawed feet this peculiar behaviour helps them to tear their prey into small eatable pieces. It furthermore serves as a cache so that the shrike can come back later, which may help males to impress a female (Yosef & Pinshow, 2005). Impressingly, the impaling behaviour of shrikes have even enabled them to eat extremely toxic grasshoppers by waiting for 1-2 days for the toxins to degrade (Yosef & Whitman, 1992).
The amazing picture above was taken by Glenn Vermeersch (http://www.pbase.com/glennv/) and shows the impaling behaviour in all its detail. Here is his story about how he managed to get this amazing shot…
(read more: Mudfooted) (images: Glenn Vermeersch)
what the christ
Man Made Noise Has Ripple Effects on Plants, As Well as Animals
by PhysOrg staff
A growing body of research shows that birds and other animals change their behavior in response to manmade noise, such as the din of traffic or the hum of machinery. But human clamor doesn’t just affect animals. Because many animals also pollinate plants or eat or disperse their seeds, human noise can have ripple effects on plants too, finds a new study.
In cases where noise has ripple effects on long-lived plants like trees, the consequences could last for decades, even after the source of the noise goes away, says lead author Clinton Francis of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina. The study appears in the March 21 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In previous studies, Francis and colleagues found that some animals increase in numbers near noisy sites, while others decline. But could animals’ different responses to man-made noise have indirect effects on plants, too? Because they can’t move, many plants rely on birds and other animals to deliver pollen from one flower to the next, or to disperse their seeds.
To find out what animal responses to noise might mean for plants, the researchers conducted a series of experiments from 2007 to 2010 in the Bureau of Land Management’s Rattlesnake Canyon Wildlife Area. The region is home to thousands of natural gas wells, many of which are coupled with noisy compressors for extracting the gas and transporting it through pipelines. The compressors roar and rumble day and night, every day of the year…
More information: Francis, C., N. Kleist, et al. (2012). “Noise pollution alters ecological services: enhanced pollination and disrupted seed dispersal.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Provided by National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)