sparrow in the autumn

The Season of Zugunruhe

A Redstart gleams glossy black and is gone. Kinglets trickle past me, their high calls scattering south. Bird migration is in full swing. The birds may be finding their way by seeing the magnetic fields of the earth by virtue of magnetite crystals in their brains, internal compasses that let them perceive magnetism as we […]

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Bird Skeletons and Avian Physiology

Before the advent of airplanes, people mimicked the design of bird skeletons in hopes of achieving the freedom of flight. A great many flapping and gliding contraptions were conceived and tested, endeavors that yielded only a sense of disappointment and a few good lessons about flight dynamics. Others involved in similar experiments were far less […]

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Bird Wings – What’s on a Wing?

For those of us who pursue the mysteries of feathers, and bird wings, questions are numerous and answers are hard to come by. Even a seemingly simple question such as, “Who dropped this feather?” can be a daunting one. With over 900 bird species living in the United States and Canada, it is hard to […]

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