Facts about birds

…despite the putrid menu vultures favor, their excrement is sterile. In fact, letting the waste run down their legs can clean off germs from the gore; it’s their version of freshening up with a moist towelette after a barbecue. Tiny bee hummingbirds are so small you could mail 16 of them for the price of a single stamp. Robins can navigate with the right eye alone, but not the left. Albatrosses, who spend 95 percent of their lives over open ocean, are thought to be able to shut down half their brains while continuing to fly at 40 m.p.h. For blackcap warblers, the direction of migration is clearly innate, so crossbreeding a group of blackcaps who flew south for fall migration with a group that oriented westward resulted in offspring who flew in a southwesterly direction.

That is from this Vicki Constantine Croke review of two new bird books.


Wow, does this mean 'albatross' has become the metaphor of choice to characterize Americans?

The Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, NZ: albatross heaven. The funny wee parrots in the NZ Alps are pretty fine too.

For puffins I recommend the islands of the Firth of Forth; for migrating geese in Autumn, the shores of the Solway Firth; for pheasants, woodpeckers, and herons, our back garden; for kingfishers, the "Paradise" reserve on the River Cam. There endeth my knowledge, save for the birds of Australia, which seem to be beautiful and colourful everywhere.

We are not familiar with your sexual slang verbiage.

But +1 for "puffins"


I was going to say this sounds like Noah Strycker's Thing With Feathers. Another good birding book is The Big Year, which was made into a movie a few years ago. Trivia: Australian/UK slang for girl is "bird".

Australian/UK slang for girl was “bird”.

Two decades ago.

Reproduction is a very inefficient way to do vector addition.

might be an efficient way to track the slow movement of ideal migration territory along a riverbed, perhaps

cheaper than trying to bundle complex terrain-desirability- recognition wetware

Never, ever, ever call a birder a bird watcher. It is like calling a cyclist a biker. You don't want that. Trust me.

It is like calling a cyclist a biker

Here we call them a**holes.

They, birdwatchers that is, are called "twitchers" in Britain. I don't know why.

Do they also do meth while spying on birds?

Dammit, I have to mail 17 bee humming birds. Do I risk it? I really really don't want them returned.

What if half if them are flapping their wings at any one time? Maybe I can use a box small enough only half can sit down at once.

Why did the vulture cross the road?

To get away from the restaurant with too many hot chickens.

Any relationship between the endurance of albatross and (winning) marathon runners?

Not much, albatrosses can turn it back on.

More bird posts, please.

When a vulture dies is it eaten by other vultures?

When I behave like my namesake it is far less hygienic.

Comments for this post are closed