Birds & Words #11

Eggy beginnings, vaccines for chicks, hungry adults, and more.

A vaccine for bird cholera
Every year Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean comes alive with three species of albatrosses that come here to breed. But since the 1980s, cholera has been wiping out their newly hatched chicks. A vaccine has now been tested and has already saved a few lives.

Gullible gulls
When we offered them food, they came and started living among us. Now, if we stop giving them what they came for, will they leave? Fascinating piece on how seagulls became gulls.

Where did eggs get their colors and spots?
Until now, scientists thought egg colors, speckles and spots evolved in modern birds. But a new study of fossilized dinosaur eggs has overturned this theory. It shows that eggshell coloration evolved in the group of dinosaurs to which Velociraptor belongs. These dinosaurs laid eggs that weren’t smooth and white but patterned and pigmented.

Will science for birds
This month I wrote about citizen science and two projects that focus exclusively on birds—eBird India and Hornbill Watch. (The article is not all about birds but it does have a bird theme to it.)

Birding resources
Bird Count India has put together a resource of apps, books and other reference material on birds. If you’re serious about birding, I’d suggest you bookmark it.

In pictures: Hungry birds
Don’t miss these awe-inspiring images of birds having a meal.

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