44 votes
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Why do some birds fly in a V-formation?

They fly on the wing currents produced by the birds in front of them. It's similar to drafting someone in front of you while cycling or racing. The leader is breaking trail, and the followers are ...
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  • 53k
23 votes
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Why does this blue tit bird desperately want to come inside?

Two possibilities: There's something it thinks is food on the inside. Note that blue tits are quite clever at accessing food, to the extent of opening foil-topped milk-bottles (though the linked ...
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  • 22.5k
20 votes
Accepted

Do bees at the hummingbird feeders keep the birds away?

Yes, there is actually quite a bit of discussion you can find online. Bees in large numbers can keep hummingbirds away. They don't want to get stung either! However, you can lessen the bees by doing ...
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18 votes
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Why do seagulls circle around at high altitudes?

For the same reason carrion birds circle over fresh kills: They're waiting for an opportunity to swoop in and get some food. All the gulls see is a large gathering of humans, which typically means ...
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  • 53k
17 votes

Does a bird really abandon the nest? Will similar birds re-use it?

Birds do not typically reuse nests, as pests and parasites typically move in and use it as a habitat after the birds are done with it. Those birds who do reuse nests often don't have much success ...
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  • 53k
14 votes
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Why would a Canada Goose sleep on a frozen pond?

it's not cold for a goose, as they bring their insulating down-filled sleeping gear with them. ponds/lakes are safer for them than a field where predators are more common. Typically in a flock, not ...
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  • 996
14 votes

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

TLDR: Yes they eat them, No they don't feel the heat. The tiny Bird’s Eye Chili originated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, and surrounding countries, but they can now be found all ...
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14 votes
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Why do they turn the 9/11 Memorial Lights off for birds?

The basic idea of turning them off temporarily is to let the birds readjust to their surroundings. For reasons still unknown to science, artificial light attracts birds, from fledgling seabirds to ...
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12 votes
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Why are two birds obsessed with a chopped-down tree?

This usually means that they had a nest in the tree. If they are still there after a few days it probably means they also had young. Either still in the nest or young enough that they still returned ...
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  • 3,175
12 votes

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

Paul Lydon could be right. The behavior is designed to encourage worms to come to the surface, to make it easier for the geese to find and eat. From the same Wikipedia page he quoted, entitled Worm ...
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12 votes
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What is the ecological justification (if any) for bird feeders?

If we exclude the birdwatching explanation Shem gives, the only possible ecological reason for a bird feeder is to counteract the negative effect we have on the bird's habitat by having our house ...
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  • 24.4k
12 votes
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Sparrows eating grains strewn on floor but not the grains in a nice bowl

There are a number of different birds in the sparrow family. In Massachusetts, USA, I think what we technically have most of is the House Sparrow. This page has a whole sparrow list with their sounds. ...
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11 votes
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What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

The best thing to do would have been not disturb them in the first place, but I do understand the need of this question. So I wouldn't add any advice like "Do not disturb them in the first place". ...
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  • 31.5k
11 votes

Does a bird really abandon the nest? Will similar birds re-use it?

Some species reuse abandoned nests. According to the Bird Nests and Eggs field guide, great horned owls reuse abandoned raptor nests, and elf owls nest in abandoned woodpecker holes. This is far ...
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11 votes

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

I have seen gulls do exactly that. It is known as: Worm charming, worm grunting, and worm fiddling are methods of attracting earthworms from the ground. The activity is usually performed to collect ...
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  • 5,862
11 votes
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How do songbirds and small animals know when there's a hawk in the immediate vicinity?

All it takes is one of the birds to notice and give the alarm and then the other birds join in. Even the chipmunks and squirrels will listen to the birds and then pass the message along. Birds' ...
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10 votes
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Are the seagulls begging or contentedly sighing?

The sound you are referring to is probably a plaintive call used to attract attention (of a mate or from the little ones to the parents for feeding) it might just be them wanting to be fed. You can ...
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10 votes
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Do any birds hibernate?

According to the RSPB, which @muru found spelled out at the bottom of the linked page below as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, there is one species of bird that does truly hibernate. ...
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  • 22.2k
9 votes
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What happens to the eggs after American robins are born?

They eat them. It's true, egg shells are edible, and birds will eat them. Mommy robin probably snacked on the shells while she was sitting on her babies keeping them warm. After laying their eggs, ...
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  • 53k
9 votes
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Is it safe to feed swans in the United Kingdom?

The "swans can break your arm" concept is rather lacking in evidence, though one once caused a kayaker to drown. They are a nuisance on the water, especially if you get between adults and their ...
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  • 22.5k
9 votes

Bald eagle vs. vultures?

As bon says in the comments, the most likely explanation is that the vultures and eagle were fighting over a carcass. The answer to your question "do eagles eat carrion?" is an emphatic yes: Unlike ...
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  • 3,692
9 votes
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Why do I never see robins in the woods?

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, American Robins are indeed found in wild places like woodlands, forests, and mountains. Because worms hibernate, the winter robins feed primarily on ...
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9 votes

Why would a Canada Goose sleep on a frozen pond?

There are a few reasons why Canada Geese sleep on the ice. michael has covered them, so this is supplementary. In simplest terms, it's because they live in the water, and are able to tolerate frozen ...
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9 votes
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What must be causing a decrease in sparrows and an increase in pigeons in my town?

Common Sparrows, which are the State Bird of Delhi, and also of Bihar, have indeed been on a massive decline in India in recent years. What you're seeing is not a fluke. It's happening in many urban ...
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9 votes

Bird migration across Atlantic?

There is a route known as the East Atlantic Flyway used for migration between Eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Siberia, Northern Europe, Western Europe, and on to Africa. There are 297 species ...
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  • 11.6k
9 votes

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

The smallest owl in the world is the elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi). It's about the size of a sparrow, and weighs about an ounce and a half, which is just less than the weight of a golf ball! Wingspan:...
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9 votes
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Why are common grackles standing on our bird feeders with their heads pointed straight up?

Those grackles are engaged in a courting behavior, most frequently called “bill tilt.” It's also been called “head up” or “head up threat.” While establishing pairs for mating, males vie for the ...
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9 votes
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How to defend against swooping Torresian Crow

You might try an umbrella. See this article from The Guardian, Rogue owl caught after year-long reign of terror in Dutch town. A rogue owl that has terrorised a northern Dutch city for the past ...
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  • 22.2k
8 votes
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Does a bird really abandon the nest? Will similar birds re-use it?

Is it okay to take that pretty nest as a sample or a show-piece to put in a personal balcony or a garden? This can be a simple question of size. A large nest, like an eagle's nest, is of course too ...
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