Category Birds

Where the wild peacocks are found?

Wild peacocks live together in large flocks in the forests of central Africa, India, Sri Lanka and southern Asia, They search for seeds to eat during the day, and at nightfall they fly up the trees where they perch and sleep.

Every peacock has several wives known as peahens. The female birds build their nests on the ground and lay from four to six whitish, sometimes spotted eggs. During the mating season the male utters a harsh raucous cry.

Peacocks were first brought to Europe in the days of Alexander the Great. At one time they used to be kept on many farms, but today they are usually found in zoos or public parks.

Peacocks are extremely beautiful birds with their brightly coloured plumage. The male bird makes a magnificent display when it opens up it opens up its huge fan-like tail to preen itself. The female is more dully coloured and does not have the large ornamental feathers.


Picture Credit : Google

How edible birds’ nests are gathered?

The birds’ nests which the Chinese use as an ingredient to make their famous birds’ nest soup are built by a swift belonging to the group of birds known as Collocalia. This bird closely resembles the swallows of Europe.

These swifts are great flies. They make their home on steep cliffs that rise out of the sea in the islands of eastern Asia. The birds build their nests among these rocks and two or three times a year the nests are gathered to be sold in Chinese markets.

The work of gathering these nests is quite dangerous because very steep cliffs have to be scaled to reach them. Once a colony of nests has been reached they can be removed quite easily. The shelf-like nests are made of the saliva of the birds, which goes hard rapidly. It is this saliva, softened by soaking and then cooking that is used in making the delicious soups.


Picture Credit : Google

How do webbed feet help birds move in water?

Did you ever swim wearing flippers? If so, you know that they help you swim faster. Flippers are like the webbed feet of ducks, geese, and swans. Webbed feet are like paddles. They push lots of water, so the bird can move faster.

Ducks, geese, and swans are all waterfowl. They spend most of their time in lakes, ponds, rivers, or the sea.

Different kinds of waterfowl have different ways of getting their food. Some kinds of ducks, such as mallards, wigeons, and teals, are known as dabbling ducks. To get food – water insects, snails, and water plants – a dabbling duck puts its head underwater. Its feet and tail stick straight up in the air. Swans feed this way too, but they eat mostly plants.

Ducks such as pochards, canvasbacks, and grebes are known as diving ducks. They dive underwater and eat mostly water plants.

Geese usually feed on land. They like grass, seeds, and plants. Their bills can clip off the tops of plants as neatly as a pair of scissors.

Colourful mandarin ducks often perch in trees when they aren’t swimming.

Picture Credit : Google

Why don’t birds get electrocuted when they sit on an electric wire?

Electricity flows by the movement of electrons through conductors. As copper is a good conductor of electricity, the copper in electrical wires allows electricity to flow easily along their surface.

Birds don’t get electrocuted when they sit on an electrical wire because they are not good conductors of electricity. Their body does not offer electrons an easier medium than the copper wires they are sitting on for electricity to flow through. Hence, the electricity bypasses the birds and keeps flowing along the wire. But if the bird while remaining seated on the wire comes into contact with the ground or another electric wire with a different voltage, it may get electrocuted. This is because a difference in electric potential (voltage) causes the movement of electrons. Electricity flows from areas of high voltage to those of low voltage.

The bird’s body would become a path for the electricity to reach either the ground (no voltage) or a place with a different voltage (another wire with a different voltage, for example).


Picture Credit : Google

How climate change can impact bird life?

Migration pattern

The impact of climate change on birds’ migration patterns has been noticed in the last few decades. Scientists have documented that fewer birds show up in breeding and wintering grounds and they attribute it to the increasing temperatures changing vegetation and extreme weather conditions.

Birds synchronise their migratory movements with seasonal changes. The start of their journey and their speed must match the life cycle (before caterpillars pupate) of food sources at the stopover and destination sites. But these environmental cues go for a toss with changing climate.

Lack of food

A number of birds has adjusted breeding times to match early Spring. They arrive at the breeding site earlier than before. Meanwhile, increasing temperatures also make the vegetation bloom and insects hatch earlier at the site. But sometimes these shifts are not in line with each other. As a result, the chicks hatch way after the caterpillars are gone. And so, they starve. (On average the window of time when birds lay their eggs has gotten earlier by almost two weeks over half a century. Since many small songbirds can raise their young in roughly one month, two weeks is a big shift in their timing.)

Habitat loss

One of the major effects of climate change is the loss of habitats. While some species face shrinking ranges, others face habitat destruction. For migrating birds, flooding or desertification could spell doom. Flocks might fly thousands of kilometres only to find their destination submerged or barren. Many goose species use the Siberian tundra’s rocky bedrock to raise their offspring. But increasing temperatures make the permafrost soil to thaw and change the habitat completely, making it impossible for the geese to breed.

Sea-level rise

Sea-level rise and erosion alter coastal wetlands. Many birds, such as piping plovers, that inhabit coastal areas lay their eggs directly on the sand of the beach in a shallow depression. The erosion of beaches and storm surges can cause nests to be lost to the ocean.

Lack of sea ice

Climate change affect penguins in two ways – non-availability of food and nesting habitats. The Adelie penguins nest on land during the summer, and migrate during the winter to the edge of the sea ice, where they feed at sea. As icebergs break off in warming Antarctica, Adelie penguins are forced to take longer routes to find food in the ocean.

Antarctica’s climate is generally cold and dry but warming could cause unprecedented rain or melting of ice, creating puddles on the ground. This is bad news for penguins that lay their eggs on the ground. Their eggs cannot survive when they are lying in a pool of water.

Chinstrap penguins, which also breed in Antarctica, are affected by melting ice. Lack of sea ice affects the abundance of krill their main source of food.

Smaller body, larger wings

A study published in December 2019 found that global warming was causing birds to shrink and their wingspans to grow in size. Scientists explained that it could be more adaptation of birds as smaller birds are better at cooling off, losing body heat more quickly due to their larger surface area to volume ratios. But smaller body size means less energy available for the birds to complete long journeys. Scientists say that birds would have evolved to grow long wings to compensate for their smaller bodies as it helps them survive migration.

Will birds be able to adapt to climate change?

In the past, species and ecosystems were able to respond to global temperature shifts because average global temperatures changed slowly. Now, the change is simply too fast for many species to adapt. As we saw earlier, birds are adapting ways such as starting their migration early to match earlier Springs, but scientists are not sure if they will be able to keep up with the speed of climate change.


Picture Credit : Google

Why do birds not collide with each other when flying in groups?

It’s not unusual. A large flock, like you speak of, has the birds touching wingtips all the time. It’s hardly ever with any kind of disastrous results. They just brush up against each other, and then adjust. Or they will feel the turbulence, or simply see the bird next to them, and move over a bit. It’s only for a split second, so you wouldn’t really notice if you’re watching. On the other hand, they are normally not as close to each other as it would seems when you’re watching an enormous flock from a distance. They try to keep clear, but occasionally they will get into each other’s space. Those types of birds can react extremely quickly, and much of it is pure reaction and instinct, without thinking about it.

I have seen owls crash into each other as well. Since they are not as small as flocks of starlings, for instance, they can’t adjust as quickly. The bigger birds crashing usually are a bit more disruptive to their flight.

It’s this instinct that gives you the amazing, fluid, acrobatic formations in the sky. This phenomenon is also seen in fish schools like sardines. It’s believed that they anticipate the move or change in direction. Their field of view is quite large, so they don’t focus on the bird next to them, but rather what’s happening several feet away, many birds away. So by the time they need to change direction, they are able to do so in time. Similar to “the wave” at a football stadium. You see it coming from afar, and by the time it gets to you, you are able to jump up in time to keep it smooth all around the stadium.


Credit : Quora

Picture Credit : Google

Why is Chilika lake famous?

The largest brackish winter lagoon in Asia, the Chiluka Lake in Odisha spreads across more than 1,000 sq km comprises wide areas of manhes, lowlands and plenty of islands The fresh water from inland rivers and saline water from Bay of Bengal mix together to result in a unique ecosystem that supports rich biodiversity One of the largest wintering grounds in the country for migratory birds Chilika attracts tens of thousands of winged visitors even from as far as Mongolia and remote parts of Russia. The binds are ably supported by marine life marked by a variety of small fishes. The Chilika Lake comprises the chilika Bird Sanctuary and Nalbana Island also a bird sanctuary.


The birds one can spot in the region include ducks, geese, shelducks, pochards, flamingoes, grebes, doves, swifts, cuckoos, rails, crakes, storks, pelicans, bitterns, herons, egrets, ibises. cormorants, plovers, lapwings, jacanas, godwits, sandpipers, stints, snipes, redshanks, gulls, terms, vultures, kites, buzzards, eagles, owls. barbets, bee eaters, kingfishers, falcons, weavers. pipits, wagtails, larks, warblers, swallows. bulbuls, babblers, starlings and mynas, The area nurtures not just birds but also mammal species such as cheetal blackbuck mongoose and porcupines, and reptiles such as snakes, turtles and lizards. Some of the marine creatures found here are sharks, dolphins, stingrays, eels, herrings, anchovies, carbs. catfish, seahorses, mackerels, tunas and barracudas.

A million splendid birds!

The annual bird count held by the Chilika Wildlife Division early this year brought ecstatic news to bird lovers and conservationists. More than 11 lakh birds spanning as many as 184 species had arrived in Chilika. This is an increase from the previous years 10-lakh-odd birds from 183 species. Reports said that five rare great knot (a small wader) were sighted after a gap of five years in the region. The birds found hearty meals such as fish, prawns, frogs, snakes and molluscs in the open wetlands. The increase in bird numbers is said to be a reflection of a certain change in the lake. Previously, illegal prawn cultivation had taken up a part of the waterbody. This is believed to have ended after a high court order, resulting in more space for the birds.

The dolphin story

The Irrawaddy dolphin is an endangered species. And according to the report of a monitoring survey 2018, the Chilika lake emerged as the “single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world. The number of the dolphin population was estimated to be 155. Meanwhile, in May this year, media reports indicated that a research project undertaken the Indian Institute of Technology Madras helped in “tripling the population of the Irrawaddy dolphins”. in addition to a seven-fold increase in the fish population at Chilika. The sand bars were widening and the position of the sea mouth was changing, leading to the gradual degradation of the lake and calling for an urgent need to save its ecosystem. The researchers developed a dredging methodology and performed it with minimum impact on the ecosystem”, to successful and happy results.


Picture Credit : Google

What is the colour difference between male and female birds?

In the avian world colour is one of the aspects that differentiates one species from another. But did you know that in many species, there are colour differences between male and female birds? Invariably, the males are brighter and more colourful than the females. Why is this so? Come, let’s find out Naturalist Charles Darwin attributed this difference to the theory of sexual selection. After extensive research he arrived at the conclusion that female birds of certain species usually chose to mate with males that were brighter in colour, which led to males gradually evolving to be more and more colourful For long scientists have gone with this explanation. However. more recent studies point to a few other reasons for the muted colours of the females. According to a study published a few years ago, in many species of birds both males and females started out looking similar – bright and colourful. However, female started losing colour faster than the males gained it The study says this evolution is because of natural selection. The drab colour of the females is said to have emerged to help them escape predation by blending in with their surroundings. This comes in handy also during nesting, which helps keep their lineage alive.


Picture Credit : Google

What are minks?

Minks are small mammals, native to the Northern Hemisphere. They belong to the weasel family. Both the European minks and the American minks are valued for their luxurious fur.

Why is coronavirus in minks a concern?

Scientists say minks may be more susceptible to the coronavirus than other animals due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In mink farms, where thousands of animals are kept in close proximity, COVID-19 can spread rapidly from animal to animal.

Unlike dogs, cats and some other animals, which show only mild symptoms, minks can get very sick and even die from the infection. So far, minks are the only animals known to both catch the virus from people and transmit it to them.

Which are the other places where minks have contracted COVID-19?

Coronavirus cases have also been detected in farmed minks in four other European countries: the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Italy. Millions of animals have been culled in these places too. In the U.S., more than 15,000 minks have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases.


Picture Credit : Google

What is culling?

Denmark’s decision to cull millions of minks over coronavirus fear has shocked animal lovers around the world. While the scientific community is divided over the validity of the concern, we will take a look at what is culling and why it is carried out in the first place.

Denmark began culling millions of minks over coronavirus fear last month. A mutated form of coronavirus that can spread to humans was found among minks in hundreds of fur farms in the country. More than a dozen people were found to have caught the infection from the animals. However, there is no evidence that the mutations that originated in minks pose an increased threat to humans.

Denmark is the world’s biggest producer of mink fur and its main export markets are China and Hong Kong. Mink farms have been found to be reservoirs of the coronavirus with over 200 of the 1,200 farms affected. Danish scientists are worried that genetic changes in mink-related form of the virus have the potential to render future vaccines less effective. Global health officials are now considering minks a potential risk, particularly in the midst of a resurgence of the virus in the human population. Denmark decided to cull all the minks in the country (instead of just the ones in the affected farms) as a precautionary step to protect people from contracting the virus. But later rolled back the order as it did not have the legal basis to kill all the animals.

While some scientists feel the concerns over mutated strain are exaggerated, others think the virus could jump from minks to other animals. Let’s take a look at what culling is and why is it being done…

What is culling?

Culling is the organised and systematic elimination of sick or surplus farm or wild animals and birds, Culling or the selective slaughtering is carried out by authorised wildlife officials with proper permits and approvals.

Why are they culled?

• Mass killing of birds and animals are carried out when they are infected with a contagious disease. It is done to avoid the spread of the disease to other animals and humans. For instance, in the United Kingdom badger culling has been carried out for years to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Badger is a carrier of bTB.

• Aggressive invaders, such as invasive birds that take over nesting sites or attack native birds, are culled to save the local ecological balance.

• Culling is carried out to keep certain animal and bird populations in check. Unusual population growth may cause an imbalance in local ecology, disrupting food sources and other essential resources. In certain parts of Australia, kangaroos are considered vermins (pests), because they damage crops and compete with livestock for scarce resources. Kangaroos are involved in more than 80% of vehicle animal collisions there. In some places of the country, kangaroos are said to outnumber humans.

How is culling perceived by experts?

Culling has always been controversial. On one side, conservationists support it for the common good of all the species in an ecosystem. They perceive culling as a necessary means to protect native biodiversity. But on the other side, animal activists protest over the effectiveness and humaneness of different methods of culling. They oppose when governments resort to culling as a short-term measure Opposition also comes from the perception that every animal should have the right to live.


Picture Credit : Google