When your duck doesn’t fit in your beard anymore – Crack Two 08Jan14

When your duck doesn’t fit in your beard anymore

Day 1: The Peep has Hatched.

So my first attempt to hatch out chicken eggs failed, except it turns out one of the eggs in there was a duck egg and apparently duck eggs are more hardy or tolerant of shitty incubation techniques.

Day 1

So now I had a duckling.  A single solitary duckling.   Ducks are very social, raising a single duck is basically a death sentence, they will die of loneliness.



Want a Pet Duck? – From The Ducks & Clucks blog (These guys do great work for ducks, please like their facebook page)

Want a Pet Duck?

We wrote this list a few years ago, and since then, many people have had varying reactions to it. Some find it off-putting, but others have thanked us for the honesty and candor. So before you think of adding a flock to your family, please read on…


Four black swans spotted surfing in Australia – The Telegraph 18Dec13

A group of black swans have been filmed surfing off a beach on Australia’s Gold Coast, to the astonishment swimmers.

The birds were spotted paddling near the shore at Kirra, one of Queensland’s prime surfing beaches, when one caught a rolling wave and was carried into the surf.

Far from appearing put out by the experience, the bird flew back to sea and rode another wave to the shore, followed by its companions.

The sporty flock appeared to be having fun, catching several waves each, sometimes riding them to the beach, before flying away to another surf break.

“I took a little bit of video, and with the second video I took, the swans were surfing. We see (surfers like) Mick Fanning and others and Kelly Slater, but not four black swans”, says Kelvin Mill, the local resident who captured the unusal sight.




Best dressed chicken in town: hens go hi-vis – The Telegraph 19Oct13

11:36PM BST 19 Oct 2013

It will not solve the riddle as to why the chicken crossed the road, but it might mean that the bird is more easily spotted when it does so.

After public officials, cyclists and schoolchildren, the nation’s pet chickens have become the latest group to succumb to Britain’s “high visibility” culture.

Owners are dressing their domestic flocks in new fluorescent bibs, which have been specially designed to keep the creatures seen in the autumn evenings.

The bibs are meant for the growing numbers of people who keep chickens as pets, especially in urban and suburban areas, to protect the birds from motorists.

The bibs, costing £12 and available in pink or yellow, went on sale earlier this month.



8 Beautiful, Improbable Bird-of-Paradise Courtship Rituals – Wired 24Sep13

8 Beautiful, Improbable Bird-of-Paradise Courtship Rituals


  • Superb Bird-of-Paradise
  • Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise
  • Lawes's Parotia
  • Standardwing Bird-of-Paradise
  • Red Bird-of-Paradise
  • Curl-Crested Manucode
  • Victoria's Riflebird
  • Carola's Parotia
  • Every now and then, Mother Nature does something so lovely and improbable as to make you wonder, “Did that really just happen? And how?”

    Such is the case with the courtship rituals of male Paradisaeidae, the bird-of-paradise family. Found only in the dense rainforests of New Guinea and a few remote Australian islands, they put on some of the animal world’s most spectacular shows.

    Their extreme sexual dimorphism — the technical term for when different sexes of the same species have different forms — doesn’t simply encompass physical traits, which in Paradisaeidae males include Day-Glo colors and spaceman-antenna feathers. It’s their behavior: the wild ululations and Kabuki-like postures and dances that sometimes make them look like UFOs.

    How did this come to be? In a nutshell, because it could. Paradisaeidae’s closest relatives are the crows and jays of theCorvidae family, but they’ve spent much of their evolutionary history on islands that lacked mammalian predators. In their absence, even the most conspicuous behaviors could attract mates rather than danger.

    Researchers from Cornell University’s Birds-of-Paradise Project are studying these amazing displays, and last week released a trove of new videos. On the following pages are some of our favorites.

    Full story at Wired:

    Superb Bird-of-Paradise


Ducks disrupt morning commute for drivers on the A3 – BBC 15 Aug 13

Ducks disrupt morning commute for drivers on the A3

15 August 2013 Last updated at 10:51 BST

There was an unusual hold-up for drivers in Surrey on Thursday morning.

50 ducks were walking along the hard shoulder of the A3 near Guildford causing queuing traffic.

Police were sent to round the mallards up and are now trying to trace their owners.

BBC Surrey’s Nigel Williams and travel presenter Julia Abbott reported the disruption in their traffic updates.



Duck Rescue Network – please support, some excellent resources here


What a Peahen Really Watches When a Peacock Tries to Impress Her – Wired 24 July 2013

What a Peahen Really Watches When a Peacock Tries to Impress Her

Photo: Jebulon/WikiCommons


When a peacock fans his plumage and struts his stuff, it’s an impressive sight. Or so it appears to us humans. What really matters, of course, is what the female he’s trying to impress makes of it. In a new study, scientists mounted tiny eye-tracking cameras on the heads of peahens to try to get inside their minds as they watched males’ courtship displays.

The findings suggest that what a female pays attention to when she sizes up a potential mate isn’t what some researchers had thought.

All those dramatic eyespots? Meh. But the width of his feather train? She’s definitely checking that out. And when he turns around and shakes his tail feathers? That’s totally hot.

‘We thought it would be a novel way to actually ask what she’s interested in.’

The peacock’s tail gave Darwin fits. At first, it seemed to fly in the face of his theory of natural selection. How could evolution possibly favor such cumbersome and conspicuous accoutrement? The very sight of those feathers, Darwin famously wrote to a colleague, made him sick. He soon realized, however, that the feathers might serve another purpose: enhancing the male’s reproductive success even as they made him more visible and vulnerable to predators. The concept of sexual selection was born, and the peacock’s tail remains a textbook example of it to this day.

But exactly what it is about the male’s display that females find attractive is far less clear.

Studies with feral peafowl at a British wildlife park in the 1990s suggested that it’s the ornamentation. Behavioral ecologist Marion Petrie of Newcastle University and her colleagues found that males with more eyespots mate more often. When the researchers used scissors to snip off 20 eyespots from several males, females showed less interest in them. Petrie’s work suggested that in the mind of a peahen, eyespots are pretty sexy.



Meet the Original Birds in a Field Guide to Winged Dinosaurs – wired.com 17June13

Meet the Original Birds in a Field Guide to Winged Dinosaurs

  • Jinfengopteryx

Sightings of birds in Scotland’s hills sought by BTO – BBC News 14June13

Sightings of birds in Scotland’s hills sought by BTO

Female ptarmiganPtarmigan are among the birds found in upland areas of Scotland

People working in and visiting Scotland’s hills and mountains have been asked to note the birds they come across.

The British Trust for Ornithology project What’s Up aims to improve knowledge of where birds species are.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has highlighted the appeal for information to its members.

Scotland’s upland birds include black grouse, ptarmigans, golden eagles and peregrine falcons.

Rare sightings made so far this year include a snowy owl in the Cairngorms.

Wildlife enthusiast Lucy Dunn was ski touring with her partner when they spotted the bird of prey on 17 February.

Their sighting was reported on the nature website iSpot.

RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust said snowy owls made rare appearances in Scotland. The birds are native to Arctic regions.

Ms Dunn and her partner were on their way back from Carn Etchachan and were heading towards Feith Buidhe, in the Northern Cairngorms, when they had their encounter.

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