Monthly Archives: February 2014

Can A Bird Save Your Life?

Blue Jays and Northern FlickerNext year, the International Space Station will be fitted with a dedicated  wildlife receiver  to monitor the epic journeys of tiny birds and insects. The data will be used to warn us of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It will also track animal-borne diseases like  West Nile Virus.  The ever shrinking size of transmitters is allowing scientists to put a device on the smallest of critters. Soon these new transmitters will weigh about 2 grams. Here we see two Blue Jays sharing information while a Northern Flicker eavesdrops. Soon we will be able to eavesdrop too.

What Are Feathers For?

Black-Capped Chickadee spreads her wings An Eagle uses feathers for soaring flight… a bufflehead duck for warmth and some ‘not so soaring’ flight. Down feathers keep babies protected while semi plumes,  found between other feathers, provide an additional layer of warmth and help maintain the smooth, streamlined shape of the bird.  Want to know more about feathers? Fly over to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where no one’s feathers ever get ruffled.