Birds & Words #1

Hawks spread wildfires, sparrows shrink, bird brains, and more.

1. Birds control fire

Turns out we are not the only species that can control fire. Some birds of prey in Australia carry twigs and embers from existing fires to start new wildfires and flush out prey.

2. Waste not: Seabirds’ nitrogen-rich poop

Together the seabirds produce about 3.8 million metric tons of nitrogen in a year. That is a sh*tload of nutrients.

3. Shrinking sparrows

Rising temperatures are leading to smaller sparrows. House sparrows have already been disappearing from our homes, and now this.

4. Blacker-than-black feathers

Paradise riflebird – a bird-of-paradise – has the blackest black feathers. They are so black that when you sprinkle gold dust on them, they still look black.

5. Migration watch

How citizens are helping scientists track bird migrations — and the likely downsides of it.

6. ‘Bird-brained’ no longer an insult

Birds’ brains are quite large relative to their body size. But what does this say about the intelligence of birds?

7. Gallery: Birds in flight

Get ready to have your mind blown by these amazing bird photographs.

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