Birds

Ferrisburgh, a kestrel at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, has begun painting for mental enrichment after losing his ability to fly.

Meet Ferrisburgh, a Rescued Kestrel Who Started Painting After a Wing Injury

The Vermont raptor can no longer fly, but he is helping educators teach the public about his species through art

Striated caracaras are falcons, but they don't act much like other birds of prey.

These Brainy Falcons Are Smarter Than You Might Think

Striated caracaras solved up to eight puzzle box problems in a new study, suggesting they are cognitively complex, like crows and parrots

In 1958, dozens of red-breasted flycatchers, like the one pictured here, flew off course and visited the United Kingdom.

One Reason Migrating Birds Get Lost Is Out of This World

Solar energy can alter the Earth’s magnetic field and likely lead the animals astray

The Australasian crested grebe, or pūteketeke, won New Zealand's Bird of the Century contest with 290,000 votes.

Puking Bird Wins New Zealand's Bird of the Century Contest After John Oliver Campaign

The comedian launched an “alarmingly aggressive” global effort on behalf of the pūteketeke to shore up its victory in the annual popularity competition

This well-preserved track from Australia clearly shows the four toes of an ancient bird.

Australia's Oldest Known Bird Tracks Are 120 Million Years Old

In that age, the continent was attached to Antarctica, but migrating animals still traveled to the polar region for sustenance

Hummingbirds' unusual flying abilities have long fascinated scientists.

Watch How Hummingbirds Fly Through Narrow Spaces

Slow-motion video revealed the birds take two different approaches: flying sideways or pinning their wings back and darting like a bullet

Some species of kingfisher hunt for fish by diving head-first into the water as quickly as 25 miles per hour.

How Kingfishers Dive Head-First Into Water Without Getting Concussions

Thanks to a new genetic analysis of 30 kingfisher species, researchers are one step closer to understanding the birds' dramatic hunting style

The Smithsonian's Cher Ami will play a role in tonight's multimedia performance “November 1918: The Great War and The Great Gatsby” at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Cher Ami, the Iconic World War I Carrier Pigeon, Makes His Debut at Carnegie Hall

A treasured Smithsonian artifact is reputed to be the heroic savior of the embattled “Lost Battalion” on the Western Front

In 2020, the American Ornithological Society dubbed this bird, formerly named for a Confederate general, the “thick-billed longspur."

Why Dozens of North American Birds Will Soon Get New Names

In a bid to make birding more inclusive, the American Ornithological Society will give new monikers to several species named after people

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

After Getting Stuck in a Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art, This Barred Owl Is Now Flying Free

The bird spent some time recuperating at two rehabilitation facilities and is now back in the wild

In the new experiment, roosters made fewer alarm calls, meant to warn peers of predators, when placed in front a mirror versus when standing near another rooster.

Roosters May Recognize Their Reflections in Mirrors, Study Suggests

The findings demonstrate self-recognition could be more common among animals than previously thought

Billions of periodical cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years in the eastern United States, creating an all-you-can-eat buffet for birds.

Huge Cicada Broods Have Ripple Effects on Birds, Caterpillars and Trees

When Brood X emerged in 2021, scientists measured how the influx of billions of insects affected the ecosystem near Washington, D.C.

John Akomfrah at his London studio, 2016

Artist John Akomfrah Is Having a Moment

The works of the recently knighted filmmaker address contemporary issues in two different Smithsonian museums

Can every living thing be traced to a single cell?

Can Every Living Thing Be Traced to a Single Cell? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

Mass Audubon's science coordinator Mark Faherty examines a horseshoe crab in Pleasant Bay, where he has conducted research on them for years.

New Synthetic Horseshoe Crab Blood Could Mean Pharma Won't Bleed the Species Dry

The “living fossils” have been vital for testing intravenous drugs, but a few large pharmaceutical companies are using a lab-made compound instead

More than 52 million birds died in the U.S. because of avian flu outbreaks in 2022.

Editing Chicken Genes Could Slow the Spread of Bird Flu, Study Suggests

Using CRISPR technology, researchers edited a protein gene that increased chickens' resistance to the virus. But the process is far from practical use

California condors are attracted to shiny things and sometimes ingest wrappers, coins and padlock keys.

'Love Locks' at the Grand Canyon Could Be Harming Endangered California Condors

Park service officials urged visitors to stop attaching padlocks to fences and throwing keys into the canyon below, where the birds could eat them

With their mating season approaching, two male Nubian ibex fight for supremacy on a cliffside. The photograph won the Animals in their Environment category.

See 12 Winning Images From the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest

The stunning entries showcase the behaviors of ancient and elusive species, from horseshoe crabs to tapirs and orcas—as well as the threats they face

One of the first toothed birds ever discovered, Hesperornis paddled with its hind feet to hunt fish and evade marine reptiles in warm, Cretaceous seas.

During the Age of Dinosaurs, Some Birds Sported Toothy Grins

The often overlooked animals thrived for millions of years

The Field Museum collects bodies of birds that collide with windows. The birds are processed and cleaned by the museum’s flesh-eating beetle colony.

Almost 1,000 Birds Died in One Night From Striking a Chicago Building

Another 1,000 were killed in window collisions across the downtown area, amid calls for more bird-friendly architecture and reduced light pollution

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