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Posts Tagged "ornithology"

Dog Spies

A New Flock of Researchers: Citizen Scientists in Animal Behavior

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Wow! You study animal behavior. So cool! People must have a field day with you at parties. When they first meet you, they probably think you just look at animals all day and travel to exotic locations. La di da, oh look there’s a tiger. But we know the truth. Studying animal behavior is a [...]

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Running Ponies

Rinjani scops owl: New owl species discovered in Indonesia

Rinjani scops owl

A new species of owl called the Rinjani scops owl has been discovered, and it’s unique to the tiny Indonesian island of Lombok. Until fairly recently, it was common practice for scientists to identify owl species based largely on their plumage and morphology. Both features are important in distinguishing all kinds of birds, but can [...]

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Running Ponies

Flamingo hows, wheres and whys: Pink; erectile tissue; one leg

Flamingos are a pretty underrated bird. But the more you dig, the more you discover how strange they are, from their limbs to their pigment to the erectile tissue in their mouths. One of the most recognisable traits of this leggy bird is how it seems to prefer to stand on one leg– even when [...]

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Symbiartic

Unfeathered for All the World to See

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One of the most astonishing illustrated books to come out this year is the work of Katrina van Grouw, an ornithologist and fine artist who counts taxidermy among her eclectic skills. The book, titled The Unfeathered Bird, is described as no less than her lifetime’s ambition and leafing through its pages, it’s easy to see [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt on Exhibit in July/Aug 2013

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Looking for a way to escape the summer heat? Pop into any of these galleries nationwide or abroad and get your fix of cool temps and hot sciart. EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION WINGED TAPESTRIES: Moths at Large through September 29, 2013 American Museum of Natural History Central Park West and 79th St. New York, NY Witness [...]

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Symbiartic

Shoot To Kill or Aim To Embarrass?

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As I’ve pointed out before on Symbiartic, before the modern naturalist movement, nature lovers would shoot and kill the objects of their fancy to get a better look. Audubon himself would take dead specimens and pin them into life-like poses before drawing them and turning them into the prints that are so treasured today. But [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 1: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

The intersection of science and art is bustling with activity. With this weekly-ish post, we’ll try to keep you abreast of the most happenin’ happenings around the country. Don’t miss out! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS Beacon, NY’s Annual Open Studio Event (Beacon, NY) September 24-25, 2011; 12-6pm | Take a tour of scientific illustrator Chris Sanders‘ and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Passerines from the peripheries (part IV): Christmas edition… ROBINS!

Tame European robin, encountered in Wales in April 2013. Photo by Darren Naish.

It’s time to wind things down for Christmas, so what better way to do it than to write a short article about robins. And here I mean the ‘original’ or ‘proper’ robin – the European robin Erithacus rubecula – a Eurasian passerine that also occurs in northern Africa and is (conventionally) regarded as the only [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Neat news from the TetZoo-sphere

"Tapirs sometimes walk on the bottom of lakes and rivers". Oh really? Yes, really.

Here are some amazing things that me and my friends have been talking about lately. They all concern fascinating discoveries or insights into unusual aspects of tetrapod behaviour. We’ll start with my current obsession: the short bit of underwater footage (16 seconds long) that shows an adult Lowland tapir Tapirus terrestris ‘walking’ (at great speed) [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Footless urbanite pigeons

Poor footless urban pigeon, encountered close to Kew train station. Photo by Darren Naish.

Foot deformities are ubiquitous in urban pigeons – why? As you’ll know if you’ve spent any time watching the pigeons of towns and cities, something like one in every ten (or more) has missing or partial toes, or swollen toes, or other pedal deformities of some sort. And then there are really extreme individuals – [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Nuthatch Empire

A nuthatch montage. Top left: Pygmy nuthatch (photo by Jimfbleak CC BY-SA-3.0). Top right: White-breated nuthatch (photo by Snowmanradio CC BY-SA-3.0). Bottom: Western rock nuthatch (photo by Devonpike CC BY-SA-3.0).

Today I’d like to focus on passerine birds again, and this time on a group that I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about before: the certhioids. Scrap that. This article ended up being devoted entirely to just one lineage within Certhioidea: the nuthatches, or sittids (properly Sittidae). We start with the image above, taken in [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

More passerines as seen from the peripheries (part III): Great tits!

Parus major, aka Great tit, photographed in southern England in early 2014. Photo by Darren Naish.

Welcome to another of my articles on passerines from the peripheries. As before, the idea here is that we’re looking at passerine bird groups as seen ‘from the fringes’ – from an obscure, maritime archipelago on the eastern fringes of the North Atlantic, far from the places where these birds underwent most of their evolution [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Blue tits: passerines seen from the peripheries (part II)

Preening Eurasian blue tit doing weird stuff with its wing: a bird that I photographed in April 2014. Photo by Darren Naish.

Today I want to talk more about passerines, and I know that this will make you happy. In particular: TITS!! Tits of several species are ubiquitous here in Europe. The two that are most frequently encountered here in southern England are the Great tit Parus major and Eurasian blue tit Cynanistes caeruleus. This article was [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Chiffchaffs: a view of passerines from the peripheries (part I)

Chiffchaff, leaf warbler examplar. Photo by Darren Naish.

Every now and again I make an effort to get through a little bit more of passerine bird diversity (see the list of articles below for previous efforts). This is such an enormous and vastly diverse clade, alas, that I’ll probably never manage it – unless, that is, that I blog about passerines and not [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

50 million years of incredible shrinking theropod dinosaurs

Theropod dinosaurs encompass a huge range of body sizes. This illustration shows a Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris) in front of a tooth of the giant allosauroid Carcharodontosaurus. Images courtesy of Terry Sohl and Christophe Hendrickx.

Some time round about 165 million years ago, the group of small, feathered dinosaurs that we call birds evolved from within the theropod radiation (theropods are the so-called ‘predatory dinosaurs’: the great group that includes animals like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor as well as the birds). As anyone reasonably familiar with recent palaeontological discoveries will know, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Katrina van Grouw’s The Unfeathered Bird, a unique inside look

Katrina, Great bustard skeleton, and her drawing of it. You may recognise that the bustard has been posed in its characteristic display posture. This image comes from Tim Birkhead's site Bird Sense.

If you pay any attention to the world of zoological research (as you will do, given that you’re reading a blog called Tetrapod Zoology), you’ll know that the study of anatomy has very much come to the fore in recent years. Previously bemoaned as a Victorian pursuit that had had its day and was inferior [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Passerine birds fight dirty, a la Velociraptor

Battling Great tits (Parus major). I don't know the name of the photographer but will add it when I find out.

No time to finish anything new, gah. In desperation, here’s a classic article from the Tet Zoo archives, originally published in March 2009. It has some minor updates. I used to receive random unsolicited emails from an individual who strongly promoted the idea that birds could not not not not be dinosaurs, that the entire [...]

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