millions of birds

news.nationalgeographic.com
Baby Bird from Time of Dinosaurs Found Fossilized in Amber
The 99-million-year-old hatchling from the Cretaceous Period is the best preserved of its kind.

Earlier this week, scientists announced the rare discovery of a 99-million-year-old baby bird fossilized in amber. The hatchling, part of the enantiornithes bird group that thrived during the Cretaceous Period, is unusually well-preserved– and had flight feathers.

Authors of the paper report that unlike modern birds, this species may have had the ability to fly at birth. It also may explain why an unusually high number of juvenile enantiornithes exist in the fossil record. Without a strong reliance on parents to protect them and teach them to fly, these creatures appear to have been more vulnerable.

bbc.com
Fossil sheds light on bird evolution after asteroid strike
Analysis of the fossil and its relationship to other members of the bird family tree suggests as many as 10 major bird groups had appeared within four million years of the extinction.

The fossil of a tiny bird that lived 62 million years ago confirms that birds evolved very rapidly after the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.

The sparrow-sized tree-dweller lived “just a geological blink of an eye” after the mass extinction.

Bird fossils from that time period are very rare.

Analysis suggests the ancestors of most modern birds, from owls to woodpeckers, had taken to the wing within four million years of the asteroid strike.

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Stargazing

Title: Stargazing

Pairing: Stan Uris x Reader

Type: Platonic | Romantic | Familial | Other

Warnings: pure fluff, smoking

Request: Could you write an imagine where the losers are having a sleepover but Stan and the reader are stargazing outside and confess their feelings about each other?


You woke as though you’d been slapped, panting, lacquered in sweat and with the memories of your nightmare already fading from your mind.

Like sand through your fingertips. You reigned your breath back in, counting your way through the senses to slow your heart. Five things to see. The Losers’ club in sleeping huddles all around you, your pillow, your blanket, your hand, the television. Two things to hear. The collective snores of your friends, soft like the beat of a bird wing, and the static of the TV nobody remembered to turn off. One thing to ground you. Your eyes went to Stan’s bed immediately, seeking him - but the bed was empty.

You stared at it, suddenly cold all over, when a movement outside the window made your heart falter. A shadow passed over the room, black in contrast to the pallid moonlight - and then you saw the head of curls through the window, pacing around the garden outside, and stifled your panic.

Sliding out of the cocoon of blankets on the couch and tiptoeing carefully over the labyrinth of your slumbering friends, you silently made your way to the back door and edged outside. The summer heat still lingered in the day, but at nights you were granted this half-hearted chill, that slid over your skin like lukewarm water edging more toward cold, and you shivered despite yourself.

Richie’s garden was small and shabby, much like the rest of his house, the only semi-happy thing being the old plastic playhouse in the middle of the brown grass. Stan sat atop the pink roof, wringing his hands together with his back to you.

“Hey,” you called softly, and he flinched so violently it made your heart hurt, whipping around with an instinctive panic lighting up his eyes to stare at you, arms across your chest and bare legs bared to the night air, trembling with cold.

He swallowed. “Hi,” he replied, in a somewhat hoarse voice. You hesitated, then hauled yourself up the playhouse to sit beside him. He was remarkably warm despite the cold air, but you resisted pulling yourself too close. Something about the way he sat - rigidly, muscles taut like elastic ready to snap - warded you off.

“What are you doing out here?” you asked, your hands drifting absently to the pack of Marlboro’s in your pocket.

“Uh - couldn’t sleep.” He watched you light a cigarette with somewhat avid interest. “You?”

You shrugged. “I woke up.” You deigned to not mention your nightmare, eyes straying to the teeth marks that were still healing on Stan’s face. “Are you okay?”

“Mm.” He swung his legs rhythmically, tapping the plastic brick walls. “I just… thought I’d come out, see if there were any birds, y’know? Seems to calm me down most days.” He swallowed, looking up at the sky. It was a clear night, and the stars shone brightly from their places millions of miles away. “No birds tonight.”

You took another drag; the puff of smoke you exhaled lilted up toward the black sky. Your eyes followed it and, struck with sudden inspiration, you said, “Look.”

“Hmm?” Stan tried to follow your gaze. “What am I looking at?”

“The moon. D’you see?” You pointed now, finger connecting shining silver dots on a black velvet canvas. “A waning crescent.”

Stan snorted. “A wanking what?”

You shot him a glare, then jumped down from the playhouse, grinding your cigarette to splinters beneath your shoe. “Come here.”

Obediently, and with an air of curiosity, he followed. You lowered yourself to lay back-down on the grass and, catching his suspicious look, prompted, “come on, then.”

With the slightest sigh, he mimicked your actions, laying down to stare directly up at the sky. He wriggled uncomfortably. “It’s wet,” he whined, and you laughed.

“Follow my finger.” You now traced the outline of the Big Dipper, the spoon in the sky. “Do you see the Big Dipper? Like a ladle.”

“Kind of.” He squinted. “Yeah, no, I see it now. That’s weird.”

“And you see, just there? That one star brighter than the others, in a black patch of sky? That’s Jupiter.”

“No shit.” He looked at the bright speck with newfound wonder. “How can we see it without a telescope?”

“Because it’s so big. So big and so close, yet… so far away.” You sighed. “I want to go there someday.”

“Where?” Stan’s tone was light, still amused. “Jupiter or the moon?”

“Either. Anywhere, away from here. Wouldn’t it be nice? New ground, new air, new fears.” He was quiet now, and you worried you’d crossed some forbidden line. “Doesn’t far away sound so nice right now?”

“Yeah.” You heard him swallow. “How do you… know all this? About stars, and shit?”

“You watch birds, I watch stars.” You shifted in the sudden silence, them hesitantly reached out to grip Stan’s hand. He tensed, but after a few moments reacted, squeezing back gratefully. “It’ll get easier, you know.”

“I know,” Stan said, sounding like he didn’t. “It’d be easier if you stayed with me.”

You laughed. “Of course I’ll stay with you, dumbass. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

“Y/n, I’m serious.” He sat up, tearing your hand from his, not looking at you but rather the grass as he talked. “I really think I would’ve gone crazy or gotten killed if you weren’t there with me. You’re - you make me feel like I’m-” he waved his hands around, frustrated. “Enough. You’re like, the only one who seems to give a shit if I’m there or not, and -“

“Stan.” You followed his lead, sitting up. You touched his shoulder and he flinched, but you grabbed his hand with one hand and touched his jaw with the other, bringing his face round to look at him. “I know the others care about you, they care about you so much, and I - I love you, Stan. I’ll always be with you.”

The tears on his face winked in the starlight as he kissed you.

You were almost shocked, but not quite. More you were relieved, as your hands fisted bunched of his shirt and his found home cradling your neck as you embraced, feeling the wetness of his tears dot your lips, tasting his fear and sadness and the raw tragedy of Stan Uris as you broke apart.

You swallowed, suddenly coy, and dropped your head with the breath of a laugh. Stan chuckled weakly, twining his hand with yours. “I, um-“

“I know.” You smiled softly, resting your head against his shoulder. “Me too.”

Red-winged Buttwad
This blackbird is extremely abundant in North America. So, you probably have already spotted one of these assholes sitting on a cattail, flaunting its gaudy shoulder markings. Territorial and full of themselves, the males make a big deal out of trying to get noticed during breeding season by nasally shrieking their “CONK-ah-SKwEEE” song, over and over, from every damp field and soggy roadside.

The buttwads in northern North America migrate to the southern U.S. – southern, and some lazy western populations, don’t migrate at all. Interestingly, who cares, because they’re already everywhere. Also, during winter, these bastards congregate in flocks as large as several million to eat grains. Nobody needs this. I mean, really. We already have starlings for this shit. 

Identifying the female: Nondescript brown and easily mistaken for, like, a million other drab birds, so, not really worth it.

eggson-bren  asked:

Have you seen the video where the woodpecker hitches a ride on a man's car in Chicago?! So cute!! I couldn't figure out where to submit it to you but I thought you'd like it. The bird's behavior is also quite strange to me.

I have seen that video! But unfortunately, it’s not so cute– this video depicts a yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), one of the few migratory species of woodpeckers in the world.

Like many migratory birds, sapsuckers breed in forests and rely on them for food to fuel their migration. And also like many other migrants, large cities create a “light trap” that can confuse them on their migration. Hungry and seeking food, this exhausted animal descended to a large city where it was unequipped to move around and perch: woodpeckers don’t have anisodactyl toes like most other birds, and are best suited to propping themselves up on a nice tree trunk.

From the sapsucker’s behavior in this video, it is clear that that the bird is either exhausted, or injured, or both. In the wild, sapsuckers can be more confiding than other woodpeckers– but not to the point where they’ll fly up to a city bus and rest there in front of dozens of commuters. It is also incredibly rare to see a woodpecker merely hanging like this; sapsuckers are especially active foragers, systematically checking their sap wells for sweet snacks or insects.

So, yes: I’ve seen the video, and I have a hypothesis I’m fairy confident explains the bird’s behavior. But it’s not a happy story: just like millions of other migratory birds that pass across the Untied States twice a year, this yellow-bellied sapsucker probably died unnoticed on a street or sidewalk.


(obligatory @why-animals-do-the-thing tag, since this is in their wheelhouse)

tangible silence - a nonlinear misadventure series surrounding deaf!eddie kaspbrak

Eddie Kaspbrak is fourteen years old, lives in the tiny town of Derry, has asthma along with a million other ailments, and attends bird watching club meetings every Monday, Wednesday,and Friday afternoon where he never actually watches birds.

Oh yeah, he also can’t fucking hear.

[tumblr link] [AO3 link]

chapter 1.

Remember, your teacher has a landline if something happens. Did you take your allergy medicine? And sunscreen?

Yes mommy. I have to go I don’t want to be late.

Eddie stepped out of the car and breathed out in relief when he felt the gust of his mother driving away without protest; every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the entire summer, he’ll have a blissful two hours away from his mom. 

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How Many Seconds in Eternity?
milkforthesouffles@tumblr
How Many Seconds in Eternity?

Audio excerpt towards the end of Heaven Sent. Murray Gold’s piece for these scenes has so much heart. And, the Doctor… 4.5 billion years of determination with Clara Oswald always in his heart and his mind. Perfect.

youtube

White-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus)

The Birds That Have Lived for 44 Million Years - Africa - BBC

The Picathartes have lived in the Congo for 44 million years. When these birds mate they mate for life therefore they have to make a good team.

via: BBC Earth

photograph by Michael Andersen | Wikipedia

I've been meaning to post this. From the seminar I attend. Catsindoors

The cat population is far from healthy in Canada. In 2011, more than 50,000 were euthanized because the shelters weren’t able to find homes for them. Twice as many cats are dumped in shelters compared to dogs, and whereas 30 per cent of dogs are reunited with their owners, less than five per cent of cats are returned home.

Cats are also frequently run over by vehicles. More than 1,300 dead cats were collected on the streets of Toronto in 2012!

Estimates indicate that most of those cats — as many as 40% — are allowed to roam unsupervised outdoors. Outdoor cats are exposed to a variety of threats, including diseases (e.g., FIV, FLV, cancer, heartworm), vehicle collisions, and fights with wildlife and other cats. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is one of many organizations that urges cat owners to keep their pets indoors unless the cat is supervised or in an enclosure.

While cats’ independent natures might lead some people to treat them like something between pet and wildlife, we owe them the same level of care we give dogs.

Letting cats roam unsupervised outdoors isn’t just bad for cats. It’s bad for birds too, as well as for people. Many of Canada’s birds are in trouble; some have declined by over 90%, and cats add to the list of risks that birds face. The official list of Bird Species at Risk increased from 47 to 86 between 2001 and 2014. Habitat destruction and climate change are taking their toll, but a lot of birds die due to other human actions and decisions. Environment Canada research estimates that, in addition to the impacts of climate change and habitat loss, 130 to 433 million birds a year die as a result of people. While it is extremely difficult to calculate the number of birds killed by pet and feral cats — especially when the number of feral cats is not well understood — cats are thought to cause 75% of those deaths.

For the cats’ sake, for the birds’ sake, and for our own sake, we need to change how we care for our beloved feline friends.

This was a heartrending discovery during my stay at Claybank. This little common yellowthroat warbler (Geothlypis trichas) died when it collided with a window. The National Audubon Society estimates that between 300 million and one billion birds die in collisions with glass in the United States each year, with about 45 percent of the collisions occurring at low-rise residences.  

vimeo

Lost in Light II is a short film showing how light pollution affects night skies using one of the most prominent constellations - The Orion. The success and reach of my previous film(vimeo.com/srirammurali/LostinLight) - made the news in over 40 countries and published on National Geographic, inspired me to make a follow up to help people even better relate to night skies and further raise awareness on light pollution. One thing I realized from my last film was that people were able to relate to the difference between the light pollution levels but not the Milky Way itself. The Milky Way appears more colorful to a camera than it does to our eyes and most people haven’t seen it. But, the Orion is a more common sight. It’s a great subject to help explain light pollution.

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