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Aggressive Seagulls Keep Couple Hostage in Their Own Home for Six Days

An elderly couple in the UK claimed that they were held hostage by a pair of seagulls nesting on the roof of their Lancashire home. Every time they tried to leave the birds would become aggressive and attack them.

Roy and Brenda Pickard’s story sounds like a real life version of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Birds”. The elderly couple were held hostage in their own home by a pair of adult Herring Gulls after the birds’  chicks slipped on the roof of the house and landed onto the canopy directly above the front door. Every time Roy tried opening the front door, he was confronted by two angry squawking adult seagulls. One time, when he decided to take his chances and go outside, the 71-year-old was hit so hard on the back of the head that he had to be taken to the hospital for help. Local authorities have installed a gazebo outside the couple’s home, which should offer some protection, but that’s the best they can do for now.

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Rooster’s Loud Crowing Triggers Legal Battle Between Neighbors

Maurice, a proud rooster from the French commune of Saint-Pierre d’Oléron, has become an overnight celebrity after triggering a controversial legal battle with his loud morning crowing.

The story of the rooster who sang to loudly has become the topic of a fired-up debate in France. A local family has been sued because Maurice, one of their roosters, crows too loudly in the morning and disturbs some of the neighbors. The bird’s owners claim that they live in a rural environment, where crowing is a part of daily life, but because of an influx of tourists and seasonal residents looking for peace and quiet, the animal’s natural instincts have become a nuisance. They’ve tried keeping Maurice in the chicken coop until 8:30 in the morning, but that’s the best they can do, they said, because Maurice is a rooster, he has to crow. Still, their neighbors didn’t find that solution satisfactory so they filed a complaint at a regional court.

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Avian Latte Art – Hobbyist Barista Draws Portraits of Birds on Cups of Coffee

Ku-san, a hobbyist barista and bird lover from Japan, meticulously draws detailed portraits of various bird species on cups of coffee, using colored milk foam.

The amateur latte artist was inspired to create drinkable bird portraits on coffee by her own pet, Sakura, a pink Bourke’s parrot. She started posting the fruits of her painstaking labor on social media, and soon people started asking her to do portraits of their own birds. Her impressive portfolio of bird portraits on coffee includes cockatiels, sparrows, and parrots, but a more detailed look at her Instagram page reveals that she’s more than able to take on other animals, like wolves, bunnies and even cute cartoon characters.

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The Story of Tibbles, a Pet Cat That Allegedly Rendered a Bird Species Extinct in Less Than a Year

The Lyall’s wren was a species of small, flightless birds that once thrived on Stephens Island, in New Zealand. It’s one of the many species that have been rendered extinct by the reckless introduction of predators in their natural habitat, but what makes this bird’s story unique is that it was allegedly both discovered and wiped out by a house cat named Tibbles.

The lighthouse on Stephens Island was built in 1892, but the existence of a yet-undiscovered species of bird on this small patch of land was only reported a couple of years later, when assistant lighthouse keeper David Lyall moved in, along with a small staff and his pregnant cat, Tibbles. Lyall was a passionate naturalist and amateur ornithologist, and was looking forward to pursuing his hobbies on this previously uninhabited island, but little did he know that he would go down in history as the man who discovered the Lyall’s wren and indirectly caused its extinction, both in less than a year.

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Opium-Addicted Parrots Wreak Havoc in Indian Poppy Fields

Poppy farmers in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are forced to guard their fields day and night in a desperate attempt to fend off large groups of opium-addicted parrots who get high off the narcotic effects of poppy seeds.

Scattered rains have already affected poppy production in Neemuch district, but farmers here say that the increasing number of opium-addicted parrots that pillage their crops on a daily basis are making things even worse. Using loudspeakers and firecrackers to keep the birds at bay has failed and the farmers’ appeals to local authorities have fallen of deaf ears, so people have no choice but to guard the poppy fields day and night. But even so, the birds still come to get their fix dozens of time a day.

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Birds Drunk on Fermented Berries Cause Havoc in Minnesota City

Police in Gilbert City, Minnesota have been getting reports of birds acting erratically – flying into windows or moving traffic and acting confused. They recently issued a statement explaining that the birds are “flying under the influence” after feasting on fermented berries.

An early frost has caused several types of berries growing in the area around Gilbert to ferment earlier than usual, but that didn’t stop the local bird population from feasting on them. The problem is that, like human teenagers, young birds can’t handle their alcohol as well as mature ones, and the ethanol entering their system causes them to act strange. And as they are getting ready to fly south for the winter, many bird species tend to stuff themselves with whatever food they find in order to build fat for the long journey, causing them to get really drunk.

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Man Raises Ducklings as His Children, Now They Follow Him Everywhere

A South Korean man and the 21 ducklings he has been raising as his children ever since they hatched have been breaking the internet with their incredible bond. A video that recently went viral in the western world shows the cute birds following their “mother” on a mountain hike and listening to his every command.

The middle-aged man, whose name is not revealed in the video, has been taking care of his 21 ducklings ever since they were fertilized eggs, making sure the incubation period went smoothly, and even helping the tiny birds break through their shell when it came time to hatch. He was the first thing they laid eyes on in this world, and he has remained the most important figure in their lives since.

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Flamingo That Escaped Kansas Zoo in 2005 Is Spotted Living It Up 700 Miles Away, in Texas

An African flamingo that famously escaped Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo in 2005 has been on the run ever since. The freedom-loving bird was recently spotted hanging out with a flock of seagulls, in Lavaca Bay, Texas, 700 miles from the zoo it once called home.

The runaway bird is known as ‘No. 492’ because of the number on a plastic band still attached to its leg. Its legendary escape was due to an error by zoo staff who thought his flight wings hadn’t fully developed, so they didn’t bother cutting them. One night, the flamingo took advantage of some strong storm winds and escaped the zoo before staff even got the chance to determine its sex. The long-legged bird has been enjoying its freedom ever since, as the zoo never attempted to recapture it. That would be difficult to do anyway, both because sightings of No. 492 have been rare in the last 14 years, and because it was born in the wild and is wary of approaching humans.

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Polish NGO Puts GPS Tracker on a Stork, Gets Hit with Unexpected $2,700 Phone Bill

Polish environmental group EkoLogiczna recently had to pay a massive phone bill, after the SIM card in a GPS tracker they put on the back of a white stork, so it could collect data about the bird’s winter migration route, got stolen.

In April 2017, members of EkoLogiczna fit Kajtek, a white stork, with a GPS tracker so they could monitor his migration route to Africa, as well as his feeding habits. In the next year, the bird flew around 6,000 km and EkoLogiczna was able to collect the data they wanted, but in February of this years, something weird happened. On his way back from Africa to Poland, Kajtek stopped in Sudan, and “for unknown reasons” remained in the area for over two months, “travelling 25 kms in different directions during the day”. Then, on April 26, they lost the signal completely.

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Deadliest Flight – Taiwan’s Grueling Sea Races Kill Over One Million Pigeons Each Year

Every year, more than a million pigeons die while competing in Taiwan’s controversial pigeon sea races, a series of grueling events in which young birds are shipped far out to sea, released in the middle of nowhere and forced to fly home. According to several reports from animal rights organizations, less than 1% of them make it back to land.

The small island of Taiwan hosts more pigeon racing events than any other country in the world. A reported 500,000 Taiwanese race pigeons every year, competing for billions of New Taiwan dollars in prize money. Pigeon racing is such a big business that the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology once introduced an optional course on it, which proved very popular with both young and old pigeon racers. However, important notions taught during this course, like injury prevention and the use of performance enhancing drugs fly out the window during Taiwan’s seasonal sea races.

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Male Stork Travels 14,000 Km Every Year to Be with His Handicapped Mate

The world’s most faithful male is a stork. Every year, for the past 16 years, he has flown 14,000 km from his winter home in South Africa to a small village in Croatia, Europe, to be with his handicapped mate, who cannot fly due to an old gunshot wound.

The amazing love story between Klepetan and Malena has made the two storks celebrities in Croatia. Every March, the male stork flies back to the village of Brodski Varos, where Malena is waiting for him. They mate and have new babies each year, which Klepetan then teaches how to fly, before migrating with them to South Africa. The injured female stays behind, as she cannot fly, but she’s always well taken care of during the cold winter.

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Chicken in Thailand Still Alive 10 Days After Literally Losing Its Head

A chicken from the Ratchaburi Province in central Thailand has been hailed as a “true warrior” for surviving more than a week after being decapitated. It has now been adopted by monks who are feeding it by pumping food into its throat with a syringe.

The headless chicken first made news headlines earlier this week, after photos and videos of it went viral on Thai social media, but no one actually expected it to survive so long without a head. Facebook user Noppong Thitthammo was the first to share the story of the resilient bird, along with photos showing the mangled remains of its neck. He wrote that a vet in the Mueang Ratchaburi district of Ratchaburi Province had been caring for it, feeding it by dropping food down its neck and giving it antibiotics to prevent the infection of its wounds.

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Australia’s “Firehawks” Deliberately Start Wildfires to Flush Out Prey

According to a research paper published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology, several Australian birds of prey have the habit of starting wildfires for the soul purpose of flushing out prey from the blazing grasslands. Interestingly, aboriginals have known about this for over 40,000 years and even have a name for the fire-wielding birds – “firehawks”.

Australia’s dry climate makes it prone to wildfires. Lightnings and human activities are considered the main causes, but according to a recently-published research paper, birds may sometimes have a part to play as well. Raptors like the black kite (Milvus migrans), whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and the brown falcon (Falco berigora) can allegedly start fires in the continent’s 730,000 square miles of savanna by dropping burning sticks in the dry grass to flush out prey like insects, reptiles and small mammals. What’s even more remarkable is that they seem to be doing it on purpose.

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Wealthy Brits Install Spikes on Trees to Stop Birds Pooping on Their Expensive Cars

Wealthy residents of an elite neighborhood in Bristol, England have installed ‘anti-bird spikes’ on trees  in an attempt to protect their expensive cars from bird droppings.

The spikes, which are commonly used to prevent birds from roosting and nesting on building ledges over public sidewalks, were nailed to two trees in the exclusive Clifton area of the city, near the wildlife-rich Downs and the Avon gorge. The use of these spikes in trees has outraged locals and environmentalists alike, with one Twitter user calling it a war on wildlife. The affected trees have been described by a local Green Party councilor as uninhabitable to birds. A spokesperson for Bristol city council, however, said that the trees were on private property, so there was nothing that the local authorities could do to stop them. The spikes had apparently already been in place for several years.

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Tiny Birds Build Communal Nests So Large They Can Pull Down Trees

While most songbirds build small, discreet nests designed to shelter one clutch of eggs, the Social Weavers (Philetairus socius) of southern Africa build communal nests so large that they can pull down mature trees. Each structure can weigh over a ton, and range upwards of 20 feet wide and 10 feet tall, with over a hundred separate nesting chambers. Successive generations refurbish and reuse these compartments, often for more than a century.

Social Weavers utilize several different building materials, starting with a basic structure of woven twigs. They then line the interior with grasses and feathers and construct a 10-inch long, one-inch wide private entrance with downward pointing spiky straws to deter snakes. While a breeding pair will have a private apartment, most chambers house three or four of the birds at a time. The benefits of this lifestyle become clear in the context of the desert where temperatures vary dramatically.

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