Richard Collins

Zika and aedes are a deadly duo

THE sudden rise in certain birth abnormalities in warm countries may be caused by Zika virus infection, writes Richard Collins

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Snakes alive! Huge worms seen in Scotland

A recent tabloid headline ran ‘Giant worms the size of snakes are discovered by scientists on abandoned Scottish island’, Richard Collins

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Think ‘King Kong’ only existed in the movies. Well, think again.

The first King Kong film was released in 1933. A reworked version of Beauty and the Beast, it became a special effects and animation classic. Nature columnist Richard Collins reminds us, however, that the King Kong of the big screen is very much rooted in a species of giant ape that may have walked the earth as recently as 100,000 years ago.   

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Orcas begin to target dolphins

KILLER WHALES, or ‘orcas’, visit our shores from time to time but only one pod seems to be resident in Irish waters. 

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Konrad Gessner: Quincentennial of great naturalist

The violent events of Verdun, the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising, will be remembered in 2016, writes Richard Collins

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Conservationist will fly with swans from Siberia to Britain on motorised parachute

Bewick’s swans breed in Arctic Russia but spend the winter in western Europe. Some visit Ireland. 

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Pine marten’s American cousin

SEVEN fisher cats were released into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State on December 3. The three males and four females had been trapped in British Columbia.

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A look at the huge appetites of whales

AS EVERY whale-watcher knows, a feeding frenzy of noisy seabirds out on the open ocean usually means there’s a whale underneath. Whalers, long ago, hadn’t the fancy technology sailors and fishermen have today; they often relied on birds to guide them to their quarry.

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Cats not the only lounge lizards

Darwin noted that domestic cats have larger guts than their wild cousins, writes Richard Collins

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New research unfolds long-living secrets of the mouse lemur

The mouse lemurs of Madagascar are the world’s smallest primates. 

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Monarchs reign in Mexico

The Mexican Environment Secretary, Rafael Pacchia, says that the number of monarch butterflies hibernating in his country will be three to four times greater this winter than it has been in recent years, writes Richard Collins

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Plenty of hoopla about Hoopoes as they treated birdwatchers in 2015

Birdwatchers will remember 2015 as the year of the hoopoes. 

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Sharp declines in Puffin populations and other birdlife

THE International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) keeps tabs on plants and animals worldwide, writes Richard Collins

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‘Seagull Hawk’ hen harrier still vulnerable

THE hen harrier gets its name from our countrymen for butchering their fowls’, wrote William Turner in 1544.

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Ostriches barter eggs for survival

THE current edition of Zoo Matters has an interesting item on ostriches. Dublin Zoo’s cock and six hens share a communal nest each year, as is the custom with these flightless birds. Ostriches are used to a warm climate. 

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Tough decisions to save endangered species

AS THE numbers of a critically endangered species continue to decline, a point is reached where difficult decisions must be made. Should the few remaining individuals be left alone or caught and transferred to safer locations? 

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Problems with pachyderms

Life, is ‘poor nasty brutish and short’ said Thomas Hobbes. Certainly, it’s no bed of roses. Natural selection should have equipped us to deal with fear and anxiety, but has it?

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Dragonflies outlived dinosaurs

THE British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch survey isn’t only about birds. 

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The farmer and the cowbird ...

THE cuckoo, alas, has no respect for the ordinary decencies of family life; it lays its eggs in other birds’ nests.

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Change your diet, polar bear

World temperatures have been relatively stable for the last 17 years but now, according to the meteorologists, they are rising again.

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When shearwaters come ashore to nest their little legs can't adequately support them. Picture: Richard Mills

Sheer skill of adaptable bird

Some years ago, Tom McDermott created a pond on his farm near Naas in Co Kildare. Up to 120 mallard roost there nowadays, attracted by the grain he puts out for them.

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