The Burdekin duck is like no other duck in the world.

IMAGE CREDIT: Ben Queenborough/Shutterstock
THAT ONE in the front looks like the brains of the operation and the one at the back, well, you kinda just want to pinch its cheeks and stroke its soft little head.
Meet the Burdekin duck (Radjah radjah), otherwise known as the radjah shelduck, a species found in the coastal tropics of northern Australia, as well as in New Guinea and the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia.
Ranging from northern Queensland, where it’s rare, across to the coast of the Northern Territory, where it’s most common, and out around the Fitzroy River area of Western Australia, this duck is quite unlike any other shelduck on Earth.
Shelducks are large waterfowl, and could be considered as sitting halfway between a goose and a duck.
They’re known for the distinct green band of feathers that runs along the tops of their wings, and while there are only a handful of species, they’re spread out across the globe.
Source: The Burdekin duck is like no other duck in the world

A Yellow Throated Toucan, Columbia.

A yellow-throated toucan. One in seven of all animal species can be found in Colombia, including 467 types of mammals, 1,768 birds, 609 amphibians and 475 reptiles
Source: Big cats and exotic birds: Colombia’s rescued animals – in pictures | World news | The Guardian

Redpolls in the Snow.

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) (file photo)
Professor emeritus at the University of Vermont Bernd Heinrich studied the unusual behavior of a flock of redpolls (Carduelis flammea) in Western Maine Mountains.
In his recently published findings, Heinrich said that the activity usually starts with one bird, but gradually others join in until the whole flock creates a maze of burrows and furrows.


“I have wondered a lot about what the trigger is, and I have not seen anything obvious,” Heinrich told NewScientist, adding that the activity may have a social aspect.
The professor went on to say that he found no evidence showing the birds were searching for food as there was no vegetation near the tunnels.
He added that it was unlikely that the birds were bathing as they were very clean.
“Play is defined as behavior with no immediate function, so in that sense, yes, it is ‘just’ play,” Heinrich says.
via PressTV – A type of bird builds snow tunnels for fun.

My Wonderful Backyard Magpie.

Author: Jane Izzy,
Image Credit: Photograph byjaneizzyphoto · · From Pic of the Week
We have been blessed several times by wonderful backyard Magpie pets.
Two years ago Maggie was in our life, taming herself to us like a lost puppy dog and becoming an integral part of our lives as we were nearing the end with our beautiful, very sick, 18 year old cat.
Since Maggie left we have missed her so dearly but they are wild animals and come and go as they should.
We’ve had a couple since then at different times but never as tame, uninhibited or endearing as Maggie.
Until today…Today we were blessed at another critical personal time in our lives with Pinotti (pictured above).
He is so much like Maggie, running after me in the backyard like a puppy dog and following me up the back stairs.
He went, then came back with three friends, went again and then they all came back again and I found him waiting at the back door for me.
The others are pretty tame too but he is special. I can imagine him sitting on us, snuggling in a very short amount of time, like Maggie.
Cross fingers. It certainly made my very awful day turn into something very special.
Source: ABC OPEN: Wonderful backyard Magpie || From Project: Pic of the Week

Scientists show Drunk birds slur their Songs.

imrsBird, go home, you are drunk. (AP Photo/Rawlins Daily Times, Jerret Raffety, File)
Sometimes science means getting a bunch of finches sloshed. Or at least giving them blood alcohol levels of around .08 percent, which is pretty crazy by bird standards.
In a study published last week in PLOS ONE, researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University tempted zebra finches with spiked juice — but not because they wanted to help the lab animals ring in the new year in style.
The researchers study birdsong to learn more about human speech. Birds learn to sing in much the same way that humans learn to talk (in fact, a recent study found that birdsong and speech even rely on the same genes).
It’s much easier to keep a bird in a cage and study its brain than it is to do the same with a human toddler, so birds give scientists some of our best insights into the brain mechanisms that make speech possible.
If you’ve ever talked to someone under the influence of alcohol, you know that it makes speech more difficult. But there hasn’t been much research on vocal impairment caused by alcohol — mostly because scientists have so few non-human lab animals capable of “speech” to work with.
“At first we were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won’t touch the stuff,” researcher Christopher Olson told NPR, “But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it.”
And once the birds were buzzed, they started to slur their songs.
“The most pronounced effects were decreased amplitude and increased entropy,” the researchers wrote in the study.
So in other words, their songs got quieter and less organized.
Read more via Scientists show that drunk birds ‘slur’ their songs – The Washington Post.

‘The Stilt.’

Stilt is a common name for several species of birds in the family Recurvirostridae, which also includes those known as avocets.
They are found in brackish or saline wetlands in warm or hot climates.They have extremely long legs, hence the group name, and long thin bills.
Stilts typically feed on aquatic insects and other small creatures and nest on the ground surface in loose colonies.Most sources recognize 6 species in 2 genera, although the white-backed and Hawaiian stilts are occasionally considered subspecies of the black-necked stilt.
The genus Charadrius was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) as the type species.
The generic name Himantopus comes from the Ancient Greek meaning “strap-leg”.
Source: Stilt – Wikipedia