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Connecticut Turkey Farm Always Colors Its Birds for the Holidays

Every holidays season for the past six decades, Gozzi’s Turkey Farm in Guilford, Connecticut, has been drawing visitors young and old with its host of decorative turkeys dyed in bright hues of purple, orange, yellow and green.

Bill Gozzi, the farm’s third generation owner, says that the tradition of putting live colored turkeys on display for visitors dates back to the 1940’s, shortly after his grandparents opened the place. It was originally a treat for neighborhood kids, but it grew into something more, and soon visitors from far and wide started visiting the farm to see the dyed turkeys during the Holidays. “My grandmother started it years ago as a fun thing for the kids in the neighborhood, and it caught on and just busloads of kids come now,” Gozzi said. “It’s a tradition for a lot of people. I get a lot of people saying, ‘My grandparents brought me here, and now I’m bringing my kids.'”

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The Birdman of Chennai – Indian Man Feeds 4,000 Parakeets Every Single Day

62-year-old Sekar has earned himself the nickname ‘Birdman of Chennai’ for his remarkable generosity towards thousands of parakeets. Every day, he hosts a grand feast for 4,000 of the exotic birds at his home in Chennai, India.

Sekar’s unusual interaction with the birds began after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. He had noticed a pair of displaced parrots near his back porch, and proceeded to feed them some rice from his kitchen. This continued for a few days and the birds nested nearby, eventually multiplying to thousands.

Sekar, a camera repairman by profession, now spends about 40% of his income feeding the birds. He rises early every day to cook giant pots of rice, which he then spreads on special wooden planks laid in neat rows on the roof of his house. 

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Tiny Bird Mimics Other Birds’ Warning Calls to Confuse Predators

Despite its tiny size, the brown thornbill is quite capable of protecting itself in the wild. Its survival strategy is simple yet effective – it scares other birds away by ‘crying hawk’!

It seems that most birds use certain calls to warn their kin of impending danger, especially when hawks and other birds of prey are approaching. The thornbill is not only aware of this fact, but can reproduce the danger signals of several species, including the much larger pied currawong. Predators are fooled by the false alarm, and the thornbill earns its chicks a few extra seconds to escape.

The thornbill’s talent for mimicry was discovered by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU). “I am amazed that such a tiny bird can mimic so many species, some much bigger than itself. It’s very cunning,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Branislav Igic.

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Rare Vietnamese Chicken Breed Has the Weirdest Legs You’ve Ever Seen

You might find its freakishly butch legs rather repulsive, but believe it or not, the Dong Tao chicken is incredibly popular in Vietnam. Once reserved for royalty and ritual offerings, the rare breed is now prized by chicken breeders and its meat is served in exclusive restaurants that cater to the wealthy.

An adult Dong Tao chicken can grow up to weigh three to six kilograms, with legs as thick as a human’s wrist. The hens are generally white, while the cocks have colorful feathers. Dong Tao meat is considered far more delicious than regular chickens, explaining its high demand and incredibly steep price tag.

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This Illinois Family is Being Harassed by a Swarm of Turkey Vultures

For the past month, a Southern Illinois family has been struggling with an unusual infestation of turkey vultures. Dozens of vultures are visiting their rural Buncombe home every single day, disturbing the family at odd hours and damaging their 2015 Chevrolet Silverado. The scavenging birds are also staining the entire area with their feces, and have completely ruined a newly built deck on the premises.

Rick Mize, who lives in the house with his wife, step-daughter, and their dog, said he isn’t sure how much it will cost to fix the damages. He revealed that the birds arrived at around the same time that a terrible stench enveloped the area surrounding their house. When asked to describe the smell, Rick said: “Ok, your cat died in your house and you found it five days later after being on vacation. And you walk into your house. That’s the stench, it’s just foul, death.” However, he hasn’t been able to locate any dead animals nearby.

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Alleged Pakistani Spy Pigeon Arrested in India

In a puzzling turn of events, Indian authorities have arrested a pigeon on the suspicion of spying for the Pakistani government.

The dubious bird is believed to have landed on the terrace of a barber’s home in the village of Manwal, four kilometers away from the India-Pakistan border. The barber’s 14-year-old son noticed an Urdu message printed on its feathers that read: ‘Tehsil Shakargarh, district Narowal’, along with a series of numbers. The boy immediately turned the pigeon over to the police, asking them to investigate its appearance.

Intrigued by the message and by a wire-like object found on its body, officers rushed the bird to a veterinary hospital in the town of Pathankot for inspection. X-Ray reports did not reveal anything abnormal, but the police said that they plan to detain the bird until they find out more. They do have a hunch that the digits in the message may be a telephone number in Pakistan’s Narowal district and the tension was further intensified by the fact that the bird made an appearance during a top-secret inter-state security conference in India. So the bird was listed in police records as a “suspected spy”.

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This Famous Dutch Owl Loves to Land on People’s Heads

A strange owl in the Dutch town of Noordeinde has become famous for its penchant for landing on people’s heads. It seems that the bird simply lands on people who happen to be walking by, for no apparent reason!

Apparently, a fence or a tree just isn’t good enough for the beautiful European eagle owl, weighing around six pounds. It only lands on people’s heads, staying perched for about a minute before flying off in search of its next target.

The residents of Noordeinde aren’t bothered by the owl one bit. In fact, they’re quite delighted with all the attention that their town is receiving, thanks to the wild bird. “I’ve seen photographers and birders from around the country, from The Hague to Spijkenisse, they come from everywhere to see the eagle owl,” a cheerful resident said. “Our village is finally on the map!”

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8-Year-Old Girl Feeds Neighborhood Crows, They Thank Her with Gifts

8-year-old Gabi Mann, from Seattle, has some very unusual friends who shower her with gifts almost every day. Ever since she started feeding her neighborhood crows, they began returning the favor and bringing back all kinds of trinkets.

Gabi’s unique relationship with the neighborhood crows began in 2011, when at age four, she was prone to dropping food. Soon, the crows were always watching for her, hoping to get a bite of the crumbs she dropped. As she got older, she began to feed them consciously – she would share her lunch with them on the way to the bus stop. It wasn’t long before crows were lining up in the afternoon to greet her at the stop.

In 2013, Gabi started feeding the birds regularly, instead of sharing her scraps with them. Along with her family, she would fill the birdbath in the backyard with fresh water every day, cover the bird feeder platforms with peanuts and throw handfuls of dog food on to the grass. Soon, the crows automatically lining up on the telephone lines, waiting for their treats.

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Fascinating Amazonian Bird Mimics Toxic Caterpillar to Fend Off Predators

While most young birds rely on their parents for protection, the chicks of the Amazonian Cinereous Mourner have their own survival tactic. In order to avoid being eaten by predators, they actually mimic poisonous caterpillars!

On hatching, the chicks are covered with bright orange, spiky feathers that make them look like massive caterpillars that use bright colors to warn predators of their toxicity. And to make their camouflage even more effective, they even writhe about much like caterpillars.

“These traits give it a resemblance to a hairy, aposematic caterpillar,” said Dr. Gustavo Londoño, a biologist at the University of California. “Because predation is the main cause of avian nest failure, selection should favor strategies that reduce the probability of nest predation. The caterpillar we encountered measured 12 cm, which closely matches the size of the L. hypopyrra nesting. The striking morphological similarity is the caterpillars’ orange ‘hairs’ with white tips, which match almost exactly the nestling’s elongated orange downy feather barbs with bright white tips.”

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This Adorable Bird Is Apparently a Vicious Brain-Eating Zombie in Disguise

The Great tit might seem like just a cute little bird, but don’t let its appearance fool you for. In reality, it is one of the most vicious creatures in the world. Also known as ‘The Zombie tit’, this chirping ball of feathers is a killing machine with an insatiable hunger for brains.

Scientists generally agree that modern birds are direct descendants of fierce dinosaurs like the T-Rex and Velociraptor. Of course, most of them are so small and their feathers so pretty that it’s hard for people to actually associate them with the monstrous creatures depicted in films like Jurassic Park. However, their predatory instincts have definitely passed the test of time, and this holds true for the tiny Great tit, as well. So what’s so scary about this seemingly harmless bird? Well, just that it is known to routinely seek out other birds and bats, crush their heads and feast on their brains!

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Hatebeak – A Death Metal Band Whose Lead Vocalist Was a Parrot

I suppose nothing complements the loudness of heavy metal better than ear-bleeding screeches. And when those sounds come from a bird instead of a human, it’s bound to make an impression. Meet Waldo, a Congo African Grey Parrot, a heavy metal prodigy and the lead vocalist of a Baltimore-based band, ‘Hatebeak’.

The band was formed in 2004, by audio engineers Blake Harrison and Mark Sloan, who played the guitar and drums respectively. Hatebeak was a strictly studio project with unintelligible lyrics and no real melody. They never toured so as to not torture the bird. “We don’t play live,” Blake once explained. “It would be absolute torture for the bird to experience decibels at those levels. Waldo is the only vocalist for Hatebeak. He does parrot noises and also says some words.”

In the years they were active, Blake and Mark never revealed their last names on their releases in order to maintain the mystery surrounding Hatebeak. They were signed by Reptilian Records (which is now on hiatus), and most of their discography had an avian theme with titles like ‘Number of the Beak’, ‘Beak of Putrefaction’, and ‘The Thing That Should Not Beak’.

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California Town Is Home to Hundreds of Free-Roaming Wild Peacocks

The residents of Rolling Hills Estates, a small community on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, in southwestern Los Angeles, have been sharing their home with dozens of beautiful wild peacocks for almost 100 years. The exotic birds have always added a rustic charm to the upscale suburb, but as their population continues to grow uncontrollably, many residents now view them as a terrible nuisance.

For several decades, the people of the Peninsula have tried to keep their peace with the birds. The peacocks were actually an added attraction at one point, with buyers choosing homes specifically because they fell in love with the beautiful creatures. There were regulations, education programs and behavior modification in place, all in order to accommodate the lovely peacocks.

“Palos Verdes Peninsula has many sights to see – crashing waves, rolling hills and peacocks in the trees,” said Mary Jo Hazard, an author who lives in the Peninsula. “What fascinates me is – they’re so beautiful, they’re so exotic and I don’t think there’s anything more fascinating than seeing peacocks on the roofs, peacocks walking across the street.”

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Meet the Jacobin Pigeons, Probably the Most Fashionable Birds in the World

Jacobins aren’t your average, everyday pigeons that flock on your terrace and mess it up with droppings. Take one look at them and you’ll know they are a cut above the rest. How can they not be, with a royal hood of feathers that covers them from the neck up, almost entirely hiding their pretty little heads. I like to think of them as pigeons-in-parkas, which is really high fashion as far as birds are concerned.

Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world – an excellent exhibition breed with relatively unknown origins. Some believe that that the original breed came from India, while others think they’re natives of Cyprus. They arrived in Europe around the 16th century, where they were put through four stages of development, by breeders, until they evolved into their current state.

Although they have been bred for centuries, Jacobin pigeons have undergone remarkable changes in the past 80 years. They started off rather small, which was popular back in the day. But the current breed of Jacobins are slender and of medium size, with long flight feathers, long legs and slim tails. The most remarkable feature, the ‘rosette’, makes up the hood that completely covers the top and sides of their tiny head. In fact, the bird’s face is only visible from the front. The bigger the hood, the higher the quality of the specimen. And they always maintain an upright posture, adding to their ‘royal airs’.

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Amazing Lyrebirds Can Mimic Any Sound They Hear, from Other Birds to Chainsaws, Car Alarms or Camera Shutters

Male Lyrebirds, native to Australia, are considered the rock stars of the aviary world. These amazing creatures can imitate the sounds of at least 20 different species of birds almost to perfection as well as any other sounds they hear in their environment, from camera shutters to car alarms and chainsaws. And just like human rock stars, the lyrebirds use their best sounds to attract and impress the females.

Although beautiful in their own way, female lyrebirds aren’t exactly spectacular. They don’t take part in the imitating, nor are they particularly attractive. But the males put up an elaborate show, singing a medley of mimicry to attract the females during mating season. They even set the stage beforehand, by clearing a space on the forest floor and building a mound of earth to serve as a concert platform.

Later, they assume their positions on these mounds and the mimicry begins. As they sing, they spread out their handsome 28-inch long tail feathers, enhancing the performance a great deal. But the song is the most important part. The more varied the repertoire, the more attractive the male lyrebirds seem to their potential mates. This is important, because the females need to be persuaded to come closer to admire the pretty plumage. And what better way to do it than with a great song?

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Recycling Tokyo Crows Build Their Nests Out of Coat Hangers

Crows are known to be highly intelligent birds, and it looks like they can now teach us a thing or two about recycling and stealing. The Asian Jungle Crow, a large-billed crow, actually builds its nest out of coat hangers that it steals from people’s homes!

Crows make use of pretty much anything they find lying around to build their hardy nests. House Crows generally build crude structures, made of interlocking twigs gathered from surrounding trees and shrubs. They weave the twigs together with little pieces of metallic wire that strengthen the nest structure. In some nests, the clever crows incorporate knotted lengths of thick plastic instead.

But perhaps the most amazing crow nests are the ones built around Tokyo, Japan. Twigs and other natural materials are hard to come by in the busy metropolis, so the birds settle for the next best thing, and that seems to be coat hangers. You have got to see pictures to believe it! A blogger had posted some of these images way back in 2005, after solving the mystery of the missing hangers from her back yard. But it isn’t just the one nest – it seems that Japanese Jungle Crows are compulsive collectors of hangers!

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