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birds

What Makes a Bird a Bird?
Image: iStockphoto.com/RonnieWilson

What Makes a Bird a Bird?

Birds have backbones, making them vertebrates. But what separates them from other animals in that group, such as mammals and reptiles?

For starters, they lay eggs and have feathers instead of scales. Take a closer look at Aves, a class with more than 10,000 species.

Idaho Public TV
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How Darwin’s Finches Got Their Beaks

How Darwin’s Finches Got Their Beaks

When Darwin sailed to the Galapagos Islands, he found that the shape of finches beaks changed from island to island. Using modern genetic analyses, researchers have discovered why. More...

Article
Harvard
A Murder of Crows: Crow Facts

A Murder of Crows: Crow Facts

They've been feared for centuries, but these social and caring creatures are among the smartest animals on the planet. Get more facts about the Corvus genus. More...

Article
NATURE/PBS
New Contender for First Bird

New Contender for First Bird

The Aurornis xui, a bird-like dinosaur lived in China more than 150 million years ago. Find out why its discovery shook up the avian family tree. More...

Article
Nature
Shorter-Winged Swallows Evolve Around Highways

Shorter-Winged Swallows Evolve Around Highways

Roadkill. Everyone's seen it, but can it be an evolutionary force? The data suggests fewer birds are dying as a result of short, maneuverable wings. More...

Article
Science News for Students
You’re a What? Ornithologist

You’re a What? Ornithologist

If you love birds, you might want to consider a career as an ornithologist. What do these scientists do? How do they train and prepare? Find out from Amanda Rodewald. More...

Profile
U.S. Department of Labor
A Family Tree of Every Bird on Earth

A Family Tree of Every Bird on Earth

When scientists created the first family tree that links every bird on Earth, they discovered some surprises — including that birds species have been diversifying at an increasing rate. More...

Interactive
Popular Science
Beak Heat: Evolutionary Theory of Bird Bills May Need Revision

Beak Heat: Evolutionary Theory of Bird Bills May Need Revision

Birds can't sweat, so how do they regulate their body temperature? Turns out some species have a built-in radiator, their beak. More...

Article
Scientific American
Bird “Crouch” Developed in Dinosaur Ancestors

Bird “Crouch” Developed in Dinosaur Ancestors

Birds stand on two feet, but unlike humans they have very bent legs. How did they develop this posture, which takes more muscular effort? Find out. More...

Video
Nature/Scientific American
GPS Pigeons

GPS Pigeons

Tech savvy reporter David Pogue is stripped of his smartphone and GPS, then given a compass. His challenge? Race a pigeon across Arizona to the bird's home. Who wins? More...

Video
NOVA/PBS
How Birds Fly

How Birds Fly

Ever wondered what it takes for birds to take to the skies and then stay up in the air once they get there? Work through these 6 sections and your knowledge of bird flight will soar. More...

Article
Journey North
How Did the Bird Get His Wings?

How Did the Bird Get His Wings?

Take a look at the debate and unsolved puzzle behind the question "How did bird ancestors get off the ground?" More...

Article
NOVA/PBS
Scientist Profile: Neurobiologist

Scientist Profile: Neurobiologist

Erich Jarvis is a real bird brain — a highly skilled neurobiologist who studies song birds to learn how the brain controls, generates, and learns complex behaviors, such as language. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
The Evolution of Flight in Birds

The Evolution of Flight in Birds

Being able to fly ups birds' chances of survival, helping them move away from danger and toward resources. Explore the evolution of bird flight, including how different types of feathers function. More...

Interactive
University of California, Berkeley
The Rise and Fall of Four-Winged Birds

The Rise and Fall of Four-Winged Birds

Some scientists believe birds passed through a phase with four wings designed to glide in their evolution to true flapping flight. Take a look at the evidence. More...

Article
National Geographic
Ultimate Animal Dads: Emperor Penguin Dads

Ultimate Animal Dads: Emperor Penguin Dads

Talk about protective! An emperor penguin male protects its mate's egg for two months until it hatches, eating nothing and losing about half his body weight. More...

Video
Animal Planet
What Seeds Do Birds Prefer to Eat?

What Seeds Do Birds Prefer to Eat?

Build a four-part bird feeder that you can use to figure out what types of seeds birds in your area like best — and if you can attract different species. More...

Activity
Science Buddies
YardMap

YardMap

Join thousands of other "citizen scientists" by using Google images and the YardMap tools to map your yard and its features. Sharing data creates better understanding about bird habitats. More...

Activity
Cornell University

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