kottke.org posts about birds

Migration map of American birdsJan 21 2016

Bird migration map

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, an animated map of the yearly migratory patterns of 118 bird species in the Western Hemisphere.

La Sorte says a key finding of the study is that bird species that head out over the Atlantic Ocean during fall migration to spend winter in the Caribbean and South America follow a clockwise loop and take a path farther inland on their return journey in the spring. Species that follow this broad pattern include Bobolinks, Yellow and Black-billed cuckoos, Connecticut and Cape May warblers, Bicknell's Thrush, and shorebirds, such as the American Golden Plover.

"These looped pathways help the birds take advantage of conditions in the atmosphere," explains La Sorte. "Weaker headwinds and a push from the northeast trade winds as they move farther south make the fall journey a bit easier. The birds take this shorter, more direct route despite the dangers of flying over open-ocean."

The map was created with data from eBird, a database of crowdsourced bird sightings. They also created a follow-up map which labels each of the species. Look at how far Baird's Sandpiper (#5) flies...all the way from central Argentina to Northern Canada and back. (thx, kevin)

According to paleontologist Gareth Dyke, "fossil evidenceSep 06 2005

According to paleontologist Gareth Dyke, "fossil evidence that [predatory] dinosaurs were feathered is now 'irrefutable'". Digitally remastered Jurassic Park can't be too far down the road.

The club-winged manakin sings by playing itsAug 03 2005

The club-winged manakin sings by playing its feathers like a washboard. Crickets do this, but the manakin is the first vertebrate observed to do it.

Pigeon attack!Jun 11 2005

Pigeon attack!.

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