The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History’s Division of Birds features more than 640,000 specimens and is considered to be the world’s third largest bird collection. Identified by the acronym USNM (United States National Museum), the National Collection represents up to eighty percent of the world’s known avifauna species…
Various methods of marking birds for identification are believed to go back as far as Roman times and this was generally done to indicate ownership. The first person to ring birds for scientific purposes was Danish ornithologist Hans Christian Cornelius Mortensen (1856-1921) who put aluminum rings marked with unique numbers and an address…
The theory that navigational skills in some birds may be influenced by iron particles in their beaks reacting to the magnetic field of the earth, has recently been refuted by scientists at Vienna’s Institute of Molecular Pathology.
It seems that years of sharing space with humans and being forced to adapt to changes in city lifestyles, has taught pigeons a few tricks that are quite remarkable to say the least. They might seem to most people just ordinary birds, but on taking a closer look pigeons are actually highly intelligent and are able to differentiate between humans, not by the clothes they wear, as they have learnt that clothing changes, but by facial recognition, which is extremely remarkable.
As scientists and biologists continue to struggle to discover exactly what causes birds to migrate with such accuracy, it seems new breakthroughs continue to be made. A recent discovery reported in the June Biophysical Journal sheds exciting new light on a still relatively misunderstood process of nature.
Scientists theorize that birds evolved from dinosaurs. This theory for the evolution of birds was brought about by the discovery of a fossil species possessing feathers. This fossil species called Archaeopteryx lithographica dates back to 150 million years ago and is thought to have evolved from dinosaurs called theropods. Archaeopteryx lithographica had two strong legs [...]
The accuracy with which migrating birds head for, and find, their chosen destination has been a source of wonder for many. Research has revealed many interesting facts over the years and many theories abound, but there is still an element of mystery that keeps scientists motivated to find an explanation.
How long can birds live in the wild? Anyone who has found a dead bird may wonder about their lifespan. Scientists have as well. For decades, they have been marking birds with numbered metal bands (also known as rings). If that bird is ever recovered, years later, the mystery of a birdâ€™s lifespan can be answered.
Bird banding (also called bird ringing) is an important tool for bird research and studies. Scientists put numbered metal bands around a bird’s leg, and keep track of where the birds are recaptured.