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Author Topic: Flight  (Read 918 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Flight
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2016, 06:51:40 pm »

Which Bird Can Glide the Farthest?


The wandering albatross is known for its ability to fly at great speeds and go long distances with very little effort. This seabird is capable of traveling 10,000 miles (16,093 km) in a single journey and circumnavigating the globe in as little as 46 days. Scientists have long wondered how this fantastic flyer can travel up to 600 miles (966 km) a day without flapping its wings.


The secret is its mastery of “dynamic soaring,” which involves gaining height by angling its enormous wings while flying into the wind, then turning and swooping at speeds as high as 67 mph (108 km/hr).


A fast flyer on endangered list:

•The albatross’ lifespan is roughly 60 years and its wingspan is the widest of any bird -- up to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet).


•While the albatross has existed for about 50 million years, all 22 species are now endangered. :(  The birds frequently get caught in baited fishing lines, resulting in 100,000 deaths a year.

•The idiom “having an albatross around your neck" is attributed to the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the poem, a sailor brings bad luck to his ship and crew after shooting an albatross. When the ship loses wind near the equator and runs out of water, he’s forced to wear the dead bird around his neck as punishment.

http://www.wisegeek.com/which-bird-can-glide-the-farthest.htm
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Flight
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2017, 01:42:32 pm »
From egg to flight: Hummingbirds 

I am watching two hummingbird chicks almost ready to fly. You can watch them live at the link below.

https://youtu.be/O8CIc1X_bfg
Quote

IMPORTANT:   Do NOT feed hummingbirds sugar water or "nectar" for more than 24 hours.   It will harm the bird. Babies fed sugar water or "nectar" may develop deformities or die. 

What to Do If You Find a Hummingbird

http://www.gahummer.org/what_to_do.htm
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Flight
« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2017, 02:53:33 pm »
When Does an Aging Bird Stop Laying Eggs?     

Laysan albatross in graceful flight

A Laysan albatross typically lives for around 40 years, spending most of its life in the air, flying thousands of miles every year in search of food. Once an albatross reaches adulthood, it’s difficult to determine the bird's age, but ornithologist Chandler Robbins banded one particular Laysan albatross back in 1956, so biologists know that the bird is still going strong. In fact, at around 66 years of age, the bird that Robbins named Wisdom just hatched another chick at her breeding home on Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian archipelago. Wisdom, the world's oldest-known wild breeding bird, is providing scientists with valuable information about reproduction in older animals.

Not ready for retirement:    

The Laysan albatross lays no more than one egg per year, and sometimes none. Wisdom and her mate return to the same spot every year to rekindle their relationship.

Laysan Alabatross Couple


Albatrosses mate for life, but Wisdom has outlived several males  :o  :D. She is believed to have raised 30 to 36 chicks over her lifetime. 

We Albatross ladies may just have one at a time, but we can do that for MANY years!  ;D


Renowned Ornithologist Chandler Robbins     

Chandler Robbins passed away in March 2017 at the age of 98; the renowned ornithologist was still volunteering with the Bird Banding Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, during the last years of his life. 


http://www.wisegeek.com/when-does-an-aging-bird-stop-laying-eggs.htm
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Flight
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2017, 05:22:52 pm »
Splish, Splash: Why Do Birds Take Baths?

BY JOE SMITH

MARCH 9, 2015

A cardinal at a bird bath. Photo: Flickr user ehpien under a Creative Commons license.

What does science tell us about the importance of a good bath to a bird?

The answer: surprisingly little!
  ;D

A study published in 2009 stated it plainly: “Birds of most species regularly bathe in water, but the function of this behavior is unknown” 1.

This post is about the cool green science of bird baths: what we know and intriguing areas of inquiry for future research.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Many Birds in the Tub

Despite the lack of knowledge about the function and importance of baths to birds, we all know that birds (like the rest of us) love having water around for bathing and drinking.

When working with migrant birds in the Yucatan Peninsula, I first began to understand how seriously birds take the business of bathing. We were studying warblers that were typically territorial. These birds frequently engaged in threat postures and even in fights to enforce the boundaries between their exclusive home ranges at our mangrove study sites.

Birds love hanging around water. Photo: Flickr user Prayitno under a Creative Commons license.

But at a communal bird bath, there was a nightly truce.  ;D

Each evening at dusk, in a special spot in the mangroves where a freshwater spring bubbled up from the ground, numerous American redstarts, northern parulas, magnolia warblers, common yellowthroats and yellow warblers took turns bathing.

One by one, they shared this little oasis before going to roost for the night.

Seeing territorial warblers calmly taking turns for a bath tells us that for a bird, having access to water for bathing is worth checking one’s combative tendenciesat least for a few minutes.   

Why Birds Take Baths

So, what’s so important about a bath? ???

Starlings that take baths may be better able to elude predators. Photo: Flickr user NatJLN under a Creative Commons license.

The number of relevant scientific articles can be counted on one hand. There are very basic descriptions of the mechanics of bird bathing in North American2 and Australian birds3, an experimental examination of wetting and drying of disembodied feathers4, and a recent pair of studies that experimentally deprived captive starlings of bath water 5,1.

Although the functions of bird bathing aren’t clearly known at this point, these studies suggest that bathing plays an important role in feather maintenance.

Feathers are a bird’s lifeline: they insulate, waterproof and, of course, provide the power of flight.

Feathers get replaced once or twice a year. In the interim, they need to be kept in good condition. The sun, feather-munching mites, bacteria and gradual wear take a toll on feathers. A set of year-old flight feathers look like they’ve been through the ringer: they are frayed and dull.

Photo: © Larry Niles A good bath may keep those precious feathers in the best condition possible for as long as possible.

Two recent studies on captive starlings have progressed our understanding a bit further. In one paper, Brilot and colleagues hypothesized that depriving a bird of a bath would result in more disheveled feathers and translate into poorer flight performance.

They tested a group of freshly-bathed starlings and a group that had been deprived of a bath for three hours prior to the experiment. The starlings deprived of a bath were clumsier when flying through an obstacle course made of vertically-hung strings, bumping into more strings as they flew.

In their second paper on starlings, the research team examined whether the bath-deprived starlings knew they were clumsier. They did this by presenting bathed and unbathed groups of birds with recordings of starling predator alarm calls – and delicious meal worms – at the same time.

The experiment indicated that birds with access to bath water were more willing to let their guard down and feed, despite the recorded call signaling the presence of a predator. The authors suggest that the unbathed birds were more cautious because they were aware that their ability to escape was impaired.


This work tells us that, beyond preserving feathers over the long term, bathing even makes a bird a more agile flier and more adept at escaping predators in the short term.

These studies are helpful, but the function of bathing still eludes us.

How does it make these birds better fliers? Does it help realign the tiny barbs that hold feathers together? Does it help distribute protective oils? Does it improve feather performance in some other way?

This all leaves me wondering about those birds in the Yucatan. Our research was focused on revealing differences in habitat quality among individuals, mainly by measuring the food resources of the birds. We reasoned that more food equaled birds in better condition with a better chance of survival.

But maybe we were ignoring another important aspect of habitat quality – access to bathing water. We see from the starling work that being deprived of a bath could make an unbathed bird easier to catch, so baths might play a role in survival too.

Until we get an answer from science, we will need to rely on common sense and keep those backyard bird baths full.

Preparing Your Backyard Bird Bath

Many of us with bird feeders also have a bird bath to go along with it. Even in the coldest months of the year, I’ve found that birds are eager to take baths.    :o

I recently poured a warm tea kettle of water into my frozen bird bath and there was an instant scrum as the cardinals and white-throated sparrows jockeyed for position around the bath.

A heater keeps the backyard bird bath operational all winter. Photo: Flickr user techno_nanna under a Creative Commons license.

A more sophisticated approach to maintaining a bird bath in winter is to use a bird bath heater.

Misters keep water fresh and brings a lot more attention to the bird bath. They are a great bird attractor during the spring and summer when people typically aren’t feeding birds.

Although it would be nice to know the exact functions of bird bathing, a lack of scientific knowledge won’t ever get in the way of a good bath.



REFERENCES

Brilot, B. O., Asher, L. & Bateson, M. 2009 Water bathing alters the speed–accuracy trade-off of escape flights in European starlings. Anim. Behav. 78, 801–807.
Slessers, M. 1970 Bathing Behavior of Land Birds. The Auk 87, 91–99.
Verbeek, N. A. M. 1991 Comparative bathing behavior in some Australian birds. J. Field Ornithol. 62, 386–389.
Van Rhijn, J. G. 1977 Processes in feathers caused by bathing in water. Ardea 65, 126–147.
Brilot, B. O. & Bateson, M. 2012 Water bathing alters threat perception in starlings. Biol. Lett. 11.
TAGS: Birds, Research


Joe Smith, PhD, explores the lives of the birds around us by sharing insights from scientific research. As an ecologist for a New Jersey-based conservation services company, he helps to restore coastal ecosystems and the migratory birds that depend on them. Joe lives in the birding hotspot of Cape May, NJ and has done field research with birds throughout the U.S. and Latin America. He writes about nature in his backyard at www.smithjam.com.

https://blog.nature.org/science/2015/03/09/backyard-bird-baths-science-birding-wildlife-habitat/

Agelbert NOTE: If you share your household with a kitty, please make sure the kitty does not have easy access to the bird bath as the following clever kitty has:  ;)

Birds, what birds? I'm just here enjoying the view.   



Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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