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Seagulls are moving more into urban areas — risking an outbreak of bird flu

This won’t surprise most people, but seagulls didn’t evolve to eat your french fries. They typically eat what’s around the ocean, whether it’s fish, molluscs or small mammals. Nonetheless, human wastefulness and urban expansion are providing ample food sources for these birds, which is seeming to significantly change their behavior, specifically where they prefer to live....

Originally posted on salon.com

In a first, bird flu reaches Antarctica, threatening to wipe out tons of penguins and other birds

2023 has been a bad year for emperor penguins. In August, a study in the journal Communications Earth & Environment found that the loss of polar ice in Antarctica is likely to lead to a “catastrophic breeding failure” for penguins throughout Antarctica, eventually causing them to be unable to naturally sustain their own species by the end of the century....

Originally posted on salon.com

Funky space weather causes navigation problems in birds, study finds

Space weather is exactly what it sounds like: variations in the environment between Earth and the Sun, influenced by factors like solar wind and the ionosphere, the buzzing layer of the atmosphere that is ionized by solar radiation. Birds rely on the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, yet until recently it was unclear whether space weather could make it more difficult for these same birds to fly....

Originally posted on salon.com

What an orphan owl taught an ecologist about bird intelligence

Owls are associated with intelligence, which isn’t surprising, because these birds have incredible smarts and even distinct personalities, as ecologist Carl Safina learned firsthand. After he and his wife Patricia rescued a baby screech owl that couldn’t be returned to the wild, they learned a lot about what owls are really like, as it grew up and raised its own baby owls....

Originally posted on salon.com