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Bird Gleanings from “Science News”

May 18, 2010

Alternative flame retardants leach into the environment
Supposedly safer chemicals are spotted in peregrine falcon eggs in California.

First songbird genome arrives with spring
The genome of a songbird has been decoded for the first time. Zebra finches join chickens as the only birds to have detailed maps of their genetic blueprints.

Pigeons usually let best navigator take the lead
One bird usually leads the flock, but sometimes another gets a turn at the helm.
Make sure you watch the short video.


Dinos molted for a new look
In one species, adolescents appear to have sprouted a new type of feathers as they matured.

Archaeopteryx fossil seen in new light
X-ray technique reveals original tissue in the feathers of a primitive bird fossil.

Earliest birds didn’t make a flap
The feathers of Archaeopteryx and Confuciusornis probably were not strong enough to support sustained flight.

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