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Questions tagged [bird-behaviour]

Questions relating to specific or unusual behaviour shown in birds.

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How can a Common Kingfisher bird balance on a tiny swaying reed without moving its head?

This is a one minute video of a Common Kingfisher bird standing on a tiny reed swaying in the wind. It's from the BBC Network in England. For much of the video, especially the beginning, the bird ...
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0answers
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How common are avian diseases?

I feed the local birds quite a lot, and am wondering about the possibility of contracting any avian-related illnessess. How often is it for us to come across a disease-ridden bird anywhere, as well as ...
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0answers
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How common is it for a mother duck to adopt ducklings?

There is a recent story of how one mother duck kept adopting more ducklings that weren't hers and eventually ended up with 76 ducklings. This is called "brood amalgamation", how common is it among ...
3
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1answer
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Do doves go through a molting time of shedding and replacing their feathers?

We live in Massachusetts, Northeastern United States. It's late July, and our temperatures this month have ranged between 70°F (21°C) and 90°F (32°C). Mourning doves, Zenaida macroura, live here ...
8
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1answer
128 views

How do songbirds and small animals know when there's a hawk in the immediate vicinity?

At any given time in our yard, we have at least 20 birds, up to the same number of squirrels, 15 or so chipmunks, and a few rabbits. Our many feeders and birdbaths are mostly under big trees and next ...
5
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3answers
146 views

Why are birds so nervous around humans?

I bet the first thing that came to your mind, was... because humans are evil and hurt animals because we're bigger than birds because we are louder than birds because of all of the above ...right? ...
10
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1answer
2k views

Do any birds hibernate?

A friend said she heard there's a species of bird that hibernates during the winter. I was surprised because I've only heard of birds that either migrate to warm weather as it gets cold; or stay ...
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0answers
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How big do ducklings get before they can fly?

The ducklings are getting much bigger very quickly, to the point that it's almost hard to tell the mother duck from the ducklings, (mother duck in back of procession) How much bigger are these ...
6
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2answers
190 views

Is it realistic that a duck would raise a swan?

One of the older fairy tales is The Ugly Duckling where the one oddball of the bunch is considered ugly by the other ducks but turns out to be a swan at the end of the story. From what I have read, ...
4
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1answer
98 views

When and why were House Sparrows originally brought to the United States?

The common House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, is one of the few birds not protected under federal law in North America, because it's considered a non-native species. However, it currently lives in ...
6
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2answers
278 views

How should I rescue a baby bird, including when it's wet?

A baby black bird fell in my baby's pool and I think he was there about 30 min. I took him from the pool and put him under the sun for 3-4 min to dry and then left him under the tree where there is ...
3
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1answer
108 views

How do mallard mother ducks tell their ducklings from others?

Right now the irrigation ditches and ponds have lots and lots of mallard ducklings, sometimes multiple families to a single pond. The way to tell is that there will be too many ducklings for one ...
4
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1answer
234 views

Sparrows eating grains strewn on floor but not the grains in a nice bowl

Have the good fortune of having sparrows around my house. I feed basmati rice + big bowl of water to sparrows. I sprinkle basmati rice and other grains in the balcony. The sparrows flock once in ...
8
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2answers
228 views

How do I safely move around Canada Geese?

I live in an area with a lot of lakes/ponds, with many paths around them. Many humans and dogs enjoy walking on these paths. However, the Canada geese have recently set up shop on the lakes. They don'...
5
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2answers
229 views

Is it possible for birds to develop mental problems?

A buzzard seen nearby has been continuously attacking people for over a year now. As far as I know this isn't normal behaviour, especially not outside breeding season. Please correct me if I'm wrong. ...
11
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2answers
293 views

Why was I attacked by a bird (twice)?

Last night, I had to climb a tower at work. When I reached the top platform (about 40 feet up), and turned my back to close the swinging gate behind me, I was whacked on the back of the head. ...
12
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2answers
583 views

Do birds eat chillies? Do they feel the chilli heat?

We had a few white browed bulbuls visit us recently. One of them seemed to have a peculiar interest in the chillies that grew in one of our pots (I believe these are bird's eye chillies [no pun ...
5
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0answers
269 views

Why are vultures attracted to rubber on vehicles?

I was looking up some things for some of our recent questions when I saw this line in the safety guide for Everglades National Park, Vultures are attracted to the rubber on vehicles and have been ...
12
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1answer
528 views

Is a sentinel (guard) Canada Goose always a male, or a female, or does it vary?

While there are a number of recognized sub-species of Canada geese, this question pertains to the main species, Branta canadensis. This answer to a question asking how many hours a day Canada Geese ...
9
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2answers
332 views

How to defend against swooping Torresian Crow

6 weeks ago a pair of Torresian Crows ("also called Australian crow or Papuan crow") began roosting in close proximity to my residence. Their chicks have left the nest and they do not seem to be ...
4
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2answers
96 views

What is the meaning and proper usage of the term “irruption” in bird behavior?

The author of a question on this site wondered if they had possibly seen a snowy owl. A quoted source in this answer to that question used the word irruption in part of a sentence about where the ...
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2answers
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Why do some birds fly in a V-formation?

When birds gather into groups, they fly in a variety of different formations and patterns. Some birds fly in a formation that looks like the letter "V". Several species of geese, pelicans, and ibis ...
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3answers
273 views

Possible snowy owl seen in the trees

I was out hunting last weekend (end of October) near Yellow Pine, Idaho. While walking up a hill during the late morning with moderate timber coverage (thin enough to ski comfortably but thick enough ...
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1answer
198 views

What's the ecological impact of bird-baths?

When reading this question (What is the ecological justification (if any) for bird feeders?) on bird feeders I wondered if there would be an ecological impact on having a bird bath. Especially in ...
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2answers
485 views

What is the ecological justification (if any) for bird feeders?

Like many people, we have bird feeders, and a bird-bath. We also have a feeding station (replenished in the mornings only) that attracts squirrels and chipmunks and some of the larger birds. During ...
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3answers
455 views

Do backyard birds prefer birdbaths with moving water?

It's spring here in the Northeastern United States, and we're getting a large influx of the wonderful birds who will spend the summer and fall with us. Although we feed and water birds, and any other ...
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1answer
3k views

Why are common grackles standing on our bird feeders with their heads pointed straight up?

I live in Northeastern United States, where it's spring at the moment. We keep bird-feeders throughout the year, so those that over-winter always have something to eat. As is usual at this time of ...
6
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1answer
1k views

What is the smallest owl in the world, and where can I see one?

I've read that there are up to 200 species of owls, encompassing many sizes, shapes and colors. What's the smallest of all the owls? I'd like the name and some information about its characteristics, ...
11
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2answers
653 views

Bird migration across Atlantic?

Which bird species migrate between Europe and the Americas? I know there are some species which migrate over vast distances, such as the Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica), which flies through ...
11
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3answers
374 views

Is this bar-headed goose's behavior an indication of a problem?

After seeing this question which had this animation: I was left wondering whether this behavior was "normal" or at least healthy. I know sometimes when an animal exhibits odd behavior there's ...
5
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1answer
509 views

Do American mourning doves only make their plaintive cooing sound where people can't see them?

We have American mourning doves in abundance in Massachusetts. They spend months in our yard, eating seeds both on the ground and in the feeders. They also peck around in my flower garden, so I think ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Why does this blue tit bird desperately want to come inside?

There's a strange thing going on since a few days ago in the office. Suddenly we recognized a blue tit flying like crazy up and down on our window. It looks quite average, a beautiful bird, not like ...
10
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2answers
394 views

What must be causing a decrease in sparrows and an increase in pigeons in my town?

Has your city seen a noticeable decrease in population of common sparrows? And, on the contrary an increased population of common pigeons? As per my opinion prime suspects appear to be stronger ...
8
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1answer
135 views

How and why is the red kite bird disturbed by wind turbines?

Recently my region in Germany had great success in bringing back the red kite bird. Unfortunately a few decided to stay near newly built wind turbines. Thus the turbines are turned off from time to ...
9
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3answers
443 views

Would a Canada Goose deliberately try to keep a section of water from freezing?

I just passed the pond where the geese in this question are, and it turns out that while some of the geese are sleeping ontop of the ice, there is a section right there, about 20ft by 80 that is open ...
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3answers
3k views

Why would a Canada Goose sleep on a frozen pond?

I just passed one of the town parks, and there was a flock of Canada geese sleeping on the frozen lake. It seemed like that would be a rather cold place to sleep, is there a reason beyond the ...
11
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2answers
442 views

Does feeding migratory birds in the fall affect the timing of migration?

On the east coast of the United States where I live, various species of birds migrate South (sometimes West) for the winter. Some stop briefly on their long trek, others have been here for months. ...
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2answers
395 views

Does the male or female Emperor penguin incubate their egg, and for how long?

I've been told that the only place Emperor penguins live is Antarctica. They live in colonies which can be anywhere from 500-20,000 birds. Unlike some other birds, including other penguin species, ...
16
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1answer
759 views

Do bees at the hummingbird feeders keep the birds away?

Although not greater in number, our hummingbirds this summer seem to be larger than in the past. I think it may be because my husband started making our own nectar, so it's fresher, and might taste ...
10
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1answer
697 views

What happens to the eggs after American robins are born?

When American robin chicks fledge, meaning leave the nest, it is pretty much empty. It's also fairly clean, as the parents have been removing the waste from the babies after each feeding. Aside from ...
6
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1answer
162 views

Is it safe to feed swans in the United Kingdom?

I've heard that a swan can break your arms with a flap of its wings, etc., but am not sure if that's true. There's a nature reserve - local to me - where the swans come up on foot out of the water and ...
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2answers
5k views

Bald eagle vs. vultures?

I witnessed a bizarre scene on the James River in Richmond, VA, USA (1000 yards west of Mayo Bridge if you want to examine Google Maps). It was on a large rock in the middle of the river, where nearly ...
8
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2answers
647 views

What can I provide to help a robin build her nest?

We went away for five days and came home to find a robin building a nest in the crook of the downspout of our gutter. I live in Massachusetts, in Northeast United States, so she's probably an American ...
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1answer
162 views

Are the seagulls begging or contentedly sighing?

For any Dr. Doolittles out there, when a seagull makes a "cooing" sound, is it more like the "miaow" of a cat, or the purring of a cat? Specifically, when the seagulls "talk" to each other, it is ...
8
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1answer
127 views

How should I position my hummingbird feeders to attract the most birds?

I'm trying to increase the hummingbird population in my yard in Northeastern United States. I grow certain types of flowers specifically designed to keep them happy, and have often found them drinking ...
8
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1answer
91 views

How do Plover sentinels give the “move out” signal?

During my usual weekend morning jaunt along Del Monte Beach in Monterey (California), I noticed for the first time the Plovers, who normally seem to forage nonstop, actually taking a communal break. ...
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1answer
141 views

Swans jammed together in a small pond

Due to heavy rain, the water level raised drastically in the last days and arose a few small "ponds" besides our local river. Also the main stream is accordingly extremely wild these days. Recently ...
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1answer
423 views

What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

A friend of mine disturbed a bird of prey (I think it was a kestrel or sparrow hawk) that had just killed a pigeon in her back garden. The pigeon was still alive when she found it but died soon after. ...
10
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1answer
205 views

Lots of birds together at the same time

This year in October I saw a lot of robins, male and female, finches and chickadees, and geese flying south. Surprisingly I didn't see many juveniles from previous broods. My guess is that juveniles ...
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2answers
346 views

Have attacks on humans by raptors other than owls been documented, excluding cases where they were defending their nests?

The Washington Post recently reported that a juvenile owl was attacking early morning joggers on a trail near Bethesda, MD. Signs have been put up on a section of the trail reminding users that the ...