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Birds Feature
Poisonous Birds In Papua New Guinea And A Very Baffling Story Of Evolution

The photograph above is of one of several varieties of poisonous birds found in Papa New Guinea. Photographed by Jack Dumbacher.
 
Cyanide is probably the most famous poison around. Nazi gas chambers, suicide pills, Jonestown Koolaid — they all used cyanide. It takes around 500 mg of the chemical to kill an adult who weighs 70 kilograms. But on the spectrum of toxicity, cyanide is middling at best. It's nothing compared to another compound, known as batrachotoxin.

Secreted from the glands of poison dart frogs in South America, batrachotoxin is fatal at a dosage of just 0.1 milligrams. That's equivalent to around two grains of table salt. After exposure, the toxin jams open the ion channels in its victim's nervous system, forcing muscles to fire continuously. In around 10 minutes, the heart and lungs will seize.  

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Birding Without Borders

Noah Strycker spent every single day of 2015 birding around the world. On Sept. 16, he set a record for the most bird species -- 4,342 -- seen and identified by any person in a calendar year. On Dec, 31, he finished his Big Year with 6,042 species seen.

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How Social Media Helps Birds

Social media can be a great way to get involved with birding, and used thoughtfully, different social networking sites can be helpful tools for birders to help birds.

How Birders Use Social Media

Whether it is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other of the many different social networking sites, birders can put their social connections to great use. While not all social media sites offer the same options and different birders use social media in different ways, popular ways birders engage with social networking include…

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Budgerigar

Common name: Budgerigar
 
Latin name: Melopsittacus undulatus

 

One of the best known parrots in the world, as well as one of the smallest, the budgerigar is the world's most popular pet bird. Birders who learn more about these colorful parrots, however, can enjoy seeing them wild in their native range rather than just in cages.

Common Name: Budgerigar, Budgie, Shell Parakeet, Scallop Parrot, Zebra Parrot, Canary Parrot, Warbling Grass Par...

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Pokemon Go: Real-world Analogue

Players of the augmented-reality game join birders in Central Park to search for their respective elusive critters.

By Michael Schulman

I wish I had eight pairs of hands, and another body to shoot the specimens,” John James Audubon wrote in 1829. A similar yearning has gripped the population lately, thanks to the world-conquering success of the smartphone game Pokémon Go. In the “augmented reality” app, which has topped fifteen million downloads since its release, on July 6th, players venture into the streets to collect cute Pokémon creatures, which have been digitally overlaid onto real locations. At least the game gets you outside, the thinking goes. But, like any social experiment, it has its dark side. Pokémon hunters have popped up at Auschwitz, and, around the country, robbers have targeted players by staking out Pokéstops. A safety advisory from the N.Y.P.D. last week: “As you battle, train, and capture your Pokémon, just remember you’re still in the real world, too!”

If Pokémon Go has a real-world analogue, it might be bird-watching, which also involves curious souls going outdoors in search of elusive critters, arranged in a detailed taxonomy. What is the Pokédex (where captured Pokémon are stored) if not a newfangled “life list”? With that in mind, a novice birder/Pokémon hunter, going by the avatar MonsieurJaver...

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