Birds

Jackdaws have distinctive calls that sound like “tchaw, tchaw” or “tchack, tchack.”

Jackdaws Vote to Decide When to Take Flight

The birds use vocalizations to signal when they want to leave the roost

On May 26, and endangered baby crane hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Good News

Endangered Whooping Crane Hatches at Smithsonian National Zoo Site

An abandoned egg from a wild nest in Wisconsin was given to surrogate parents in Virginia

Exotic animals including parrots and monkeys served as pets and entertainment in California in the 1850s.

The Monkeys and Parrots Caught Up in the California Gold Rush

Researchers combed through 19th-century records and found evidence of the species, which joined a menagerie that included Galapagos tortoises and kangaroos

Researchers wanted to study how Anna's hummingbirds adapted to higher elevation. (Pictured: male Anna's hummingbird)

Scientists Moved Hummingbirds to High Elevations to See How Climate Change Might Affect Them

Artificial migrations to colder environments altered the small bird's metabolism and ability to fly

A female saltmarsh sparrow in a New Hampshire wetland is held by University of New Hampshire graduatet student Talia Kuras. The circular device reads the transponder-containing indentification tag on the bird's leg. 

Planet Positive

Saving the Imperiled Saltmarsh Sparrow

Conservationists are racing to rescue a delightful coastal animal from rising seas

Lovebirds only have two legs, but they use their beaks as a propulsive third limb when climbing.

Lovebirds Use Their Beaks as a Third Limb While Climbing

Researchers find that their chops are as powerful as a rock climber's arms

Archaeologist Carol Anne Barsody scans the mummified ibis to create a 3-D model of it for an upcoming exhibition.

Mislabeled for a Century, Mysterious Mummy Reclassified as Sacred Ibis

Previously identified as a hawk, the bird was one of millions killed as offerings to the ancient Egyptian god Thoth

A Tuatara in New Zealand

One in Five Reptiles Worldwide Are Threatened With Extinction

Researchers assessed over 10,000 species in a comprehensive new study

The zoo's flamingos live in a 9,750-square-foot outdoor yard with a heated pool and barn.

Wild Fox Kills 25 Flamingos and a Duck at the National Zoo

The incident is the first time a predator has broken into the exhibit in its 50 year history

A pied avocet wades in a wetland.

Protected Areas Don’t Always Help Wildlife, Study Shows

After examining waterbird populations, researchers found that how a protected area is managed is key in determining its effectiveness

At least 36 bald eagles have died since February because of the H5N1 strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The virus is also causing the death of millions of commercial chickens and turkeys.

Bald Eagles Are Dying From Bird Flu

The highly contagious H5N1 strain is also infecting commercial chickens and turkeys

ESI acknowledged the deaths of at least 150 bald and golden eagles at 50 of its 154 wind energy facilities since 2012.

Wind Energy Company Pleads Guilty to Killing Eagles

ESI Energy Inc. must pay more than $8 million in fines and restitution after violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

This fall, visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., can see the glider and other treasures, when the “Early Flight” exhibition opens in the museum's newly transformed west wing.

This Quirky Contraption Lifted 19th-Century Pilots Into the Air for a Short, Exhilarating Glide

The rare Lilienthal glider, one of only a few originals known to exist, is newly conserved and ready for its public debut

Fossil skeleton of the owl Miosurnia diurna, which was active during the day.

This Ancient Owl Hunted in the Daytime

The fossil evidence fills a gap in these birds' evolutionary history

One reader wonders how birds stay balanced on tree branches while they’re asleep. 
 

Ask Smithsonian

How Do Birds Stay Upright When They Are Sleeping?

You've got questions. We've got experts

Bald eagles are intensely social in spite of also being fierce predators. Some 500 live near the remote fishing port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Planet Positive

The Bald Eagle's Soaring Return Shows That the U.S. Can Change for the Better

The true meaning of a national symbol

The flamingo in Cox Bay near Port Lavaca, Texas. 

Good News

Flamingo That Escaped From a Zoo in Kansas Is Spotted Once Again in Texas 17 Years Later

The zoo hasn’t made any plans to catch the bird, saying any attempts might harm the flamingo and other wildlife

Geese could have been bred to compensate for a reduction in birds from spring to autumn, according to researchers.

New Study Suggests Geese Were the First Domesticated Birds

Researchers found bones in China that indicate geese were domesticated about 2,000 years before chickens

A feral fox in Australia.

Cats and Foxes Kill 2.6 Billion Animals Per Year in Australia

A new study is the first to quantify the impact the two non-native predators have on local wildlife in the country

Flamingos in the Atacama region of Chile

Mining Lithium for Electric Vehicle Batteries May Threaten Flamingos, a Study Finds

A lake in Chile has seen decreases in two flamingo populations over the last 11 years, which researchers link to lithium mining

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