Fascinating Facts About Birds
In the 1930's a flute player released his pet lyrebird into the wild, which was able to mimic certain phrases of the man's music. The bird has shared the music with other lyrebirds and the same melodies are still sung by these birds today.
When a crow dies, the other crows investigate if there's a threat where the death occurred, so they can avoid it in the future.
Nigel, the English-speaking African grey parrot once vanished from his owner's California home for 4 years, diminishing the owner’s hopes for his return. Amazingly, he not only did return but was able to speak Spanish when he showed up.
City birds have learned to line their nests with cigarette butts in order to ward off parasites, as burnt nicotine works as an insecticide to ward off mites, lice, and fleas.
Despite their looks, falcons are more closely related to parrots than they are to hawks and eagles.
The Emperor Penguin can dive to a depth of 1,850 feet (565 meters), which is deeper than any other bird and deeper than the operational range of most naval submarines.
A parrot named Einstein with a vocabulary of about 200 words once gave a TED talk.
The first animal to ask an existential question was a parrot named Alex. He asked what color he was, and learned that he was “grey.”
Hummingbirds are continuously hours away from starving to death and consume the human equivalent of 140,000 calories per day to compensate. They enter a mini-hibernation mode (torpor) each night just to survive the suspension of calories.
A pigeon named Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre for its service during World War I. Cher Ami delivered the S.O.S. message of a lost, encircled battalion despite being shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood, and with a leg hanging only by a tendon.
Hummingbirds use spider silk to build their nests.
Crows have different warning calls for different predators. They have one for cats, and one for hawks, and another for humans. In total they can have up to 250 different types of calls.
Not only are Gentoo penguins fiercely monogamous, they will violently banish any "cheaters" from their colonies.
The Peregrine Falcon hunts by diving at more than 230 mph straight down and killing the prey on impact with its balled foot. It kills other birds with a literal falcon punch.
All 17 species of penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing at nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin, which measures only about 16 inches tall.
Ruppell's vulture is considered to be the highest-flying bird, with confirmed evidence of a flight at an altitude of 11,300 metres (37,100 ft) above sea level. It was ingested by a jet engine of an airplane flying at an altitude of 11,300 m.
The Honeyguide birds are known to lead humans (and other large mammals) to beehives. Once the hive is broken and the human has removed the honey, the bird proceeds to feed on the beeswax and larvae.
In woodpeckers, most of the energy from pecking that reaches the brain is heat. A woodpecker pecks in short bursts to keep its brain from overheating.
Crows are one of the smartest non-primate animals on earth, with the intelligence of a 7-year-old human. They use and manipulate tools, they have a long-term memory including facial recognition, and they understand analogy.
A 64-year-old Albatross named Wisdom has flown over 3 million miles since being tagged, continues to lay eggs and, despite belonging to a monogamous species, has more than likely had to find a new mate due to her unusual longevity.
Crows in New Caledonia have been found to bend twigs into hooks that they use to extract food hidden in wooden logs, which confirms that wild birds can make tools.
The U.S. Coast Guard once trained pigeons to assist in finding people lost at sea. They sat in a dome attached to a helicopter, pressing a lever after spotting life preservers or debris. They had a 90% success rate in initial trials.
An extinct bird named Rodrigues Solitaire had strange knob-like balls on its wings. These balls were used by the bird as a deadly weapon to defend territory and its mate. It also made a noise that sounded similar to thunder from a distance.
A vulture’s stomach is so strong that it can process anthrax, cholera, and botulism. Their feces are also completely sterile which helps them clean their legs since they most often walk in rotting carcasses and it also helps cool them down since can't sweat.
The reason you never see a baby pigeon is because they only live in the nest for 30 days, at which point they start to look similar to adult pigeons.
Some species of Hummingbirds can travel 385 miles on a single gram of fat.
A budgie named Puck is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as "The bird with the largest vocabulary in the world " with a vocabulary of 1728 words. Also, he wouldn't just mimic, he would often create his own phrases and sentences.
The “Demon Duck of Doom,” is an extinct flightless bird that lived in what is now Australia. It stood over 8 feet tall and had a skull larger than that of some horses. Despite its nickname, it was more closely related to the modern day chicken.
The Australian Night Parrot is one of the most elusive and mysterious bird in the world. Only 3 people have had a confirmed sighting in over a century.
When petting a bird, one should pet only the head. For some birds, petting the chest is a form of sexual stimulation and can lead to a frustrated animal.
The Dodo bird was actually a giant pigeon. It grew and lost its ability to fly due to Island Gigantism.
The Kiwi bird lays an egg that can weigh up to a quarter of its body mass. Proportionally, that's like a chicken laying a one-pound egg or a human giving birth to a 4-year-old.
A parrot named Echo was put into witness protection after testifying against its owner leading to their arrest.
Owls have serrations on the edge of their flight feathers, allowing their flight to be practically silent. Some fish-eating owls, for whom silence has no evolutionary advantage, lack this adaptation.
In 1886, there was a humongous flock of the now extinct passenger pigeons spotted in Southern Ontario. The flock was a mile wide, 300 miles long, and took 14 hours to pass a single point. There were estimated to be something in excess of 3.5 billion birds in that flock.
The eye color of owls indicates what time of day the owls prefer to be active.
Falcons on the Moroccan island of Mogador catch small birds and then proceed to remove their flight and tail feathers. They then imprison them in crevasses in the rocks to eat them later.
Urban birds now perform a sort of 'avian rap' with short and fast songs while their rural counterparts stick to slow melodies.
In order to discover that penguins sleep more deeply in the afternoon, scientists crept up on sleeping king penguins at different times of the day and poked them with a stick until they woke up.
Despite having a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet and a height of up to 3.5 feet, a typical male bald eagle weighs only 9 pounds.
A type of seabird named Fulmar vomits a putrid and fishy smelling oil on its assailants in self-defense. Not only does it smell horrific, but it's lethal to predatory birds because it permanently glues their feathers together.
A species of Indonesian parrot called Goffin’s cockatoo can solve complex mechanical puzzles.
The Harpy Eagle parents prey on harder to catch food further away from the nest so that when the child eagle finally begins to hunt on its own, an abundant amount of easy to catch prey (like sloths and monkeys) are available close to the nest.
Peacock feathers are actually brown but their microscopic structure makes them also reflect blue, turquoise, and green light, and they are often iridescent.
Millions of birds are killed each year by radio antennas. Changing the static red light to a blinking light can cut the death toll by up to 70%.
Male penguins have been observed having sex with other male penguins, having sex with dead penguins and having sex with unwilling female penguins. When this was discovered in 1912, the findings were considered too lewd to be published.
Most birds can’t move their eyes, which are not spherical like in mammals. They are also tetrachromatic, meaning they have 4 retinal cones (primary colors) versus 3 in humans, allowing most birds to see the UV spectrum and distinguish between colors that appear identical to humans.
A man named George Archibald spent several years acting as the mate of a female whooping crane - sleeping, dancing, and building nests with her - as part of an effort to save the species from extinction and it worked.
When the African Grey parrot N'kisi first met Jane Goodall, he recognized her from a photograph and asked: "Got a chimp?" It is claimed that this was a possible display of a sense of humor.