Interesting Birds News From Reier

Some interesting news from Science Daily sent in by Reier:

Birds Communitcate Reproductive Success In Song:

Some migratory songbirds figure out the best place to live by eavesdropping on the singing of others that successfully have had baby birds -- a communication and behavioral trait so strong that researchers playing recorded songs induced them to nest in places they otherwise would have avoided.

Read the rest of the story here.

My Pigeon Superior To Your Three Year Old?

Keio University scientists have shown that pigeons are able to discriminate video images of themselves even with a 5-7 second delay, thus having self-cognitive abilities higher than 3-year-old children who have difficulty recognizing their self-image with only a 2 second delay.

Read the rest of the story here.

And here is a hot topic from Birds and Beers last night:

From the Star Tribune:

St. Paul is experimenting with pigeon birth control to reduce the population and lower the fowl output.

An automatic feeder atop the Lowry Building is poised next week to begin mixing in the contraceptive, OvoControl-P, with the cracked corn and grain that has been scattered about the rooftop of late. The pellets do not harm the birds, but prevent eggs from hatching by impeding development of the layer between yolk and egg white.

The birth-control plan has the backing of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and is producing results in Hollywood, which found itself overrun with pigeons as result of frenzied feeding by a well-heeled seamstress dubbed the "Bird Lady."

Neighborhood leaders there estimated that the woman put out 112 tons of bird feed a year, in turn yielding other unsettling numbers. If a bird metabolizes two-thirds of what it eats, one-third becomes waste, and one-third of 112 equals 37 tons of pigeon excrement, said George Abrahams, second-in-command in Hollywood's pigeon offensive.

They first learned of OvoControl-P from a PETA biologist who attended a pigeon summit last year with downtown building owners. The birth-control method, combined with a gradual reduction in people feeding pigeons, is a humane approach to controlling the population, PETA contends. The St. Paul project, Kessler added, is a pilot effort to prove to building owners that they, too, should install the contraceptive feeders. The pilot is costing a couple of hundred dollars, he said.

For the contraceptive to kick in, a pigeon must eat the kibble for five consecutive days. Predators who consume pigeons are not vulnerable to its effects.

In Hollywood, the pigeon population has shown a 90 percent decline in some areas, a reduction that Abrahams attributes not just to OvoControl, but also to the arrests of people who were killing hawks and falcons and to a sharp cutback in the Bird Lady's largesse.