Country diary: The nuthatch takes a toxin that can paralyse our hearts | Birds

or treasured old guide to wildflowers, a birthday gift 60 years ago, sits, dog-eared, on my bookshelf. It warns of poisonous plants with a bold, black letter P, in the kind of gothic typeface usually seen when the credits roll in a Hammer House of Horror movie. Botany with a frisson of danger, plants with … Read more

Spate of attacks on birds of prey in 2021, RSPB report reveals Birds

There were 108 confirmed incidents of illegal persecution of birds of prey across Britain in 2021, according to the RSPB’s annual bird crime report. England’s tally of 80 confirmed persecution incidents was the second-highest figure since records began in 1990, after an unprecedented surge in wildlife crime during the pandemic year of 2020. That year, … Read more

‘Devil bird’: why the midnight cooee calls of the koel are driving Australians ‘insane’ this year | Birds

The crankiness of sleep-deprived east coast Australians driven “insane” by what they call a “devil bird” keeping them up through the night is palpable on the reddit thread dedicated to the problem of the koel’s midnight calls. Many on the thread were quick to come to the defense of the bird whose cooee calls they … Read more

‘Emus can break bones’: stop buying giant birds on a whim, farmers warn Birds

Tammy Shull, the owner of Moonlight Valley Farms in Aspers, Pennsylvania, makes a living selling emu chicks across the country. The flightless birds, native to Australia, cost about $200 for “standard” black and brown colors, while the rarer white variety can cost up to $850. Emus are a big part of Shull’s life. But hear … Read more

Birds to be kept indoors across England as avian flu risk rises to ‘very high’

New rules requiring all poultry and captive birds in England to be kept indoors to combat avian flu will be introduced next week. Officials say the disease has been located at more than 70 premises since the beginning of October alone, plus many more cases among wild birds. Bird keepers are being urged to prepare … Read more

Indian states ban guns and airguns to safeguard Amur falcons | Birds

Officials in north-east India have banned the use of guns and airguns and confiscated catapults and nets in an effort to safeguard the small Amur falcons that make an autumn pit stop on their way to sunny South Africa. Forest officers were patrolling areas of Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur states to make sure no one … Read more

Eurasian jays shun reward for keyboard delayed treat, study finds | Birds

The old saying states a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush but it appears Eurasian jays may beg to differ: researchers have found the corvids shun an immediate reward for a keyboard, but delayed, treat. What’s more, the team found the birds that showed the most self-control scored higher on a … Read more

Little-known pīwauwau rock wren named as New Zealand’s 2022 bird of the year | Birds

The pīwauwau rock wren, a diminutive mountain-dwelling underdog, has come out on top in New Zealand’s annual bird of the year competition after a hard-fought campaign again marked by controversy. The rare alpine species – which weighs about as much as a MallowPuff biscuit – beat out a number of higher-profile and charismatic competitors. “Unless … Read more