Tagged: birds

Moa’s Ark or flypaper of the Pacific – New Zealand’s place in the biology of the Pacific - From Past to Present

Michael Knapp Jun 17, 2021

It was the year 2002 and I was sitting in the shiny new office of our Biogeography Professor for my oral Diploma exam. It was going well, when I was asked to name an example of a Gondwanan distribution pattern, or in other words a species or group of species whose present-day distribution goes back to the ancient Gondwanan supercontinent … Read More

We performed magic tricks on birds to see how they perceive the world - Hot off the press

Guest Author Jun 04, 2021

Elias Garcia-Pelegrin, University of Cambridge   Magic tricks can teach us about how the brain works. Magic capitalises on very specific blind spots in people’s attention and perception so the techniques that magicians use to trick audiences are particularly interesting to psychologists like me. Misdirection, for example, relies on the control of the audience’s attention to fool them. A … Read More

Land of the chonky birds: How and why did New Zealand have so many feathered giants? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence May 31, 2021

The eastern moa is stuck fast in the swamp, its thick legs having punched through the peat into the liquid blue clay beneath. Death is inevitable, whether from starvation or from above. Unable to move, the moa can only eat what it can reach around it, if anything. The forests that covered this area during warmer times are … Read More

Bursting the Conservation Bubble with Birds - Up and Atom

Kimberley Collins Oct 16, 2018

As another Bird of the Year draws to a close, Kimberley Collins reflects on why this kind of fun and uplifting advocacy is an important way to get New Zealanders to take an interest in conservation. Every year, thousands of New Zealanders flock to the polls to vote for their favourite bird. Well-known and enthusiastic “campaign managers” hit the streets (and … Read More

How birds survived the dinosaur-killing asteroid - Guest Work

Guest Author May 26, 2018

Daniel J. Field, University of Bath The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs also wiped out every land-dwelling animal weighing over five kilograms. It caused wildfires, acid rain, protracted darkness and global cooling that made the world as inhospitable as some of the most barren places known today. If the same asteroid struck this afternoon, it would … Read More

Back to the Future in Northland: Fossils illuminate a flight path towards ecosystem restoration - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 18, 2018

Ground control to Major Tom: The otherworldly Herangi Hill at Motu i Pao/Cape Maria van Dieman where Fred found the ancient Moho skull. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Carol. In the pouring rain, surrounded by flowing sand lava and cascading lahars, Fred Brook gingerly walks towards Matt Rayner and me. He’s sliding across a steep sand dune, his hands carefully … Read More

Caw Caw! Magpies living in bigger groups are no bird brains - News

Jean Balchin Feb 13, 2018

A recent study conducted by the University of Exeter and the University of Western Australia has found that wild magpies living in larger groups are more intelligent than magpies living in smaller groups. The study also found smarter female magpies had greater reproductive success. The research suggests that the demands of living in complex social groups may play a role in … Read More

Predator Free 2050 – more like a religious war than science-based conservation policy - Politecol

- Wayne Linklater Jan 29, 2018

One of the leaders of the Predator-Free movement, Sir Rob Fenwick (Chair of the Predator Free New Zealand Trust and a Director of Predator-Free 2050), described Predator-Free 2050 as a “project born in a leap of faith” (Dominion Post). He appears to think the predator-free goal is more like a religion than a science-based conservation project. And, his religion is … Read More