This article explore 10 facts about birds that you probably did not know. To begin with, did you know that bird chicks learn to sing by replaying birdsong in their heads while they sleep? No? Then read on!
When birds sleep, they shut down one half of their brain, but the other half stays awake. This allows them to look after their basic functions even while they sleep. Then the part of the brain that kept watch sleeps, and the one that slept keeps watch.
Puffins are commonly associated with black and white feathers, lots and lots of fish, and a colourful bill! But, did you know that this bill is only colourful during the breeding season, and the coloured case falls off during the winter, leaving the beak plain and grey?
Birds sing. That is a fact no-one can deny, dispute or pretend they have never heard about. Birdsong, especially the rich, melodious song of spring can have three effects, either to chase rival males out of the territory, to attract females, or both! Perhaps the most interesting part is that males sing, and females, and other males decide what they want to hear.
Birds only listen to, and respond to their own species, however, there are some universal alarm calls that all birds heed!
Take, for example, the scolding of a blackbird. The loud, piercing call can often be heard at dusk, or if a predator is around. Try walking near the bird, and the bird will likely start and fly up, scolding. All the birdsong in the area will cease, and birds will vanish into bushes, or fly away into the sunset (if there is one!).
Did you know Guillemots have pear-shaped eggs? They live on very steep cliffs, and nest on very narrow ledges, and if the egg were round, or ”normal” egg shaped, the egg would fall off the ledge, but because it is pear-shaped, it can only roll around in circles!
You probably know this one… Not all blackbirds are black. In fact, only the males are black (with yellow beaks)! Females, and juveniles are brown, with brown beaks (Older females begin to develop yellow-ish beaks).
Research says that chicks learn to sing by replaying birdsong in their brain while they sleep.
Swifts are always on the wing and never land except to nest. They even sleep on the wing! How, you may ask? Well, they shut half of their brain down, and the other half ensures they don’t plummet to their death, then the two halves of the brain swap over!
Tawny owls have soft, slightly ”frayed” wing edge feathers to ensure they make no noise as they swoop upon their unsuspecting prey at night…
There is only one species endemic (exists nowhere else in the world) to the UK. This bird is the Scottish Crossbill. It’s upper mandible crosses it’s top one, and while it looks like it has crashed face first into a tree, this actually helps it prise seeds out of a pine cone!
Hummingbird eggs are so small a penny would cover three of them, and each brood usually only contains two!
A woodpecker can peck 20 times a second, and owl can rotate it’s head 180 degrees each way, and a mockingbird can imitate 40 different sounds!