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Feathered ‘fiend’ has long played on our fears
October 31, 2016

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

PULLMAN, Wash. – It’s Halloween, when this Washington State University Libraries patron’s mind turns to things that go bump – or, in this case, flap – in the night from a literary and not-so-literary point of view. This year, the subject is birds, the stuff of nightmares for many since Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds” was released in 1963.

Ask Dr. Universe: How can birds fly but people cannot?
September 20, 2016

Dr-Universe-230PULLMAN, Wash. – No matter how much you flap your arms or I flap my paws, gravity keeps us pulled to Earth. But when birds use their strong muscles to start flapping their wings, something amazing happens.

Popular conservation writer receives WSU alumni award
July 13, 2016

Johnsgard-80LINCOLN, Neb. – Paul Johnsgard, an ornithologist, artist and emeritus professor at the University of Nebraska, was honored July 12 with the Washington State University Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of writing and teaching that has expanded public understanding of natural history, conservation and pressing environmental issues.

Like a dog, like a frog, like a … starling?
May 2, 2016

By Linda Weiford, WSU News

starling,-wikipediaPULLMAN, Wash. – Did you hear the police siren wailing from a nearby treetop? How about the barking dog from a power line? Chances are you heard a common starling, a bird that’s making plenty of noise this time of year – not only in the Pacific Northwest but every state in the country.

Weighing benefits, risks of wild birds on organic farms
October 13, 2015

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Bluebird-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will help organic growers protect human health by assessing the risks and benefits of wild birds on organic farms. Researchers received nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Research and Extension Initiative to conduct the study.

Ask Dr. Universe: Is the puffin descended from the dodo?
July 7, 2015

Dr-Universe-230PULLMAN, Wash. – The dodo bird isn’t with us anymore, but if you visit a city park you’ll likely see one of its very close relatives walking around. It might even be nibbling on a french fry. Dodos were a pigeon, said my friend Michael Webster.

Rock Doc: To feed or not to feed the birds in winter?
February 3, 2015

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – During the winter I like to feed the birds. I have a very simple arrangement for this: pouring a mix of seeds on a flat railing outside my dining room window. I regularly attract several species of small birds to the seed.

Menopause research yields surprising insights
March 30, 2007

The next time you find a blue eggshell lying empty beneath a tree, consider the work of Donna Holmes, whose research shows that birds are exceptionally long-lived for their size. Under good conditions, female birds may experience up to a third of their life in post-reproductive years. In other words, says Holmes, birds, like humans, can experience menopause – as can guppies, lab rats and mice, opossums and primates.Holmes, associate research professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Center for Reproductive Biology, is involved in a number of studies that ultimately seek to compare the biology of female reproductive aging across the animal kingdom. … » More …