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Sunday, 30 September 2012



The subjects of the Roman Emperor Augustus would train birds which made complimentary greetings to him. Augustus would then bury them.

Leonardo Da Vinci was known to buy up whole stocks of live birds and set them free.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was founded in Manchester, England in 1889. It was originally called The Plumage League, and was set up to campaign against the use of great crested grebe feathers in women’s clothing.

The modern technique of bird banding was worked out by a Danish schoolmaster, Hans Mortensen. He was the first to attach aluminum rings to the legs of various European birds. His report in 1899 gave birth to the bird-banding movement in America.

The term 'birdwatching' to describe the practice or hobby of watching birds in their natural habitat was first recorded in 1901. It was used as the title of a book by E. Selous, Bird Watching, as a 'homelier' equivalent of the specifically scientific ornithology.

The first federal bird reservation was created by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903. It was located on Pelican Island in the Indian River Lagoon east of Sebastian, Florida. The reservation was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting.

During World War I, U.S. citizens were encouraged to feed wild birds so they could survive and eat insects that threatened America's crops.


The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird. The bird is 2.24 inches long.

The Arctic Tern, which is a small bird, can fly a round trip from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. This can be as long as twenty thousand miles per year. This is the longest migration for a bird.

The average adult male ostrich, the world's largest living bird, weighs up to 345 pounds and has an average height of 9 feet (274 cm.)

Despite only living in Africa, the red-billed quelea (see below) is the world's most abundant wild bird species, with some estimates of the overall population being as large as 10 billion.

  Photo by Bernard Dupont
The highest flying bird in the world is a type of vulture. The Rüppell’s vulture, or Gyps rueppellii, is found throughout the Sahel region of central Africa, which has been found at confirmed elevations of 37,000 feet.

The fastest bird is the peregrine falcon. It can fly at a speed of more than 215 miles per hour.


A bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.

To survive, every bird must eat at least half its own weight in food each day.

A bird 'chews' with its stomach.

The scarlet tanager, a songbird native to Illinois, can eat as many as 2,100 gypsy-moth caterpillars in one hour.

Depending on the species, birds may have fewer than 50 or up to roughly 500 taste buds, while humans have 9,000-10,000 taste buds.


Birds sing in the morning to get the clearest, crispest sound quality they can.

Certain songbirds, including the blue-capped cordon-bleu and the red-cheeked cordon-bleu, tap dance while waving twigs to attract mates.

Birds can sleep while flying, but it is still not understood properly how they avoid bumping into each other.

There is a species of bird, Antpitta avis canis Ridgley, that barks like a dog.


A hummingbird’s brain makes up 4.2% of its weight—proportionally, that’s the largest of any bird’s.

The hummingbird is the only bird that can hover and fly straight up, down, or backward!

Birds lack a sense of depth, so they have to move their heads to judge positions of objects against backgrounds.

Birds can see the Earth's magnetic field. This is due to the presence of a protein in their retina called Cryptochrome(Cryp4).

Kiwis are the only known bird to have nostrils located at the tip of their beak.

The kiwi, ostrich and emu appear to have no wings but have vestigial wing bones.

Bird excrement is 11 to 16 percent nitrogen, 8 to 12 percent phosphoric acid, and 2 to 3 percent potash.

Fossilized bird droppings are one of the chief exports of Nauru, an island nation in the Western Pacific.


The penguin is the only bird that can't fly but can swim.

About 20% of bird species have become extinct in the past 200 years, almost all of them because of human activity.

The Australian Night Parrot is the most elusive and mysterious bird in the world - only three people have had a confirmed sighting in over a century.

The Yao tribe in Africa uses the Greater Honeyguide bird to help them find bees. They have learned to communicate with the small oranged-beaked creatures, using a "Brrr-Hm" grunt, which the birds know means "lets go find honey."

About 80 percent of all bird species in the world inhabit wetlands.

The world's oldest known wild bird is Wisdom the Laysan albatross. At 67 years old she is still laying viable eggs and raising chicks. Wisdom has outlived several mates and raised anywhere from 30 to 35 chicks.

Outdoor cats are the number one threat to bird populations. They have contributed to the extinction of 33 bird populations and are responsible for roughly 2.4 billion in bird losses per year.

Wind farms kill approximately a half-million birds per year in the United States.

The remains of birds hit by airplanes in flight are known as 'snarge'.

Nippon Airways announced in 1988 that bird collisions had decreased by 20% since it painted eyeballs on its jetliners.


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