Richard Collins

Bird slaughter may be banned in Malta

I had resolved never to visit Malta.

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Large carnivores thrive in Europe

EUROPE has only four big meat-eating mammals. 

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Behaviour that’s just starling

It’s starling ‘murmuration’ time again. 

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Magnetic fields guide birds

IT has been known for decades that migrating birds use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate. 

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Turtle dove numbers take a dive

THANKS to a verse in a nonsense carol, the turtle dove is a celebrity at this time of year.

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Female minds outperform those of males ... among garden birds at least.

Girls gain higher marks than boys in the Leaving Certificate exams. Women are better at ‘multi-tasking’, and their intuitive faculties, it’s claimed, are superior to men’s. When it comes to ‘spatial ability’, however, males are judged the better performers.

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Leopards encountering a spot of bother

A cat among the dogs: leopard diet in a human-dominated landscape is the intriguing title of an article published in September by Vidya Athreya, an ecologist with the Centre for Wildlife Studies in Bangalore. 

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The adventures of our swans

According to tradition Richard Lionheart, returning from a crusade, brought the first mute swans to England. Later, the Normans took them to Ireland.

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Sacrificed on the altar of ignorance

Rhinos are in the news and for all the wrong reasons. Suni, a northern white rhino, was found dead at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on October 17. 

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Do dolphins have a built-in GPS?

FUNGIE, Dingle’s resident bottle-nosed dolphin, is Ireland’s most famous wild creature. 

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Birds vary in response to stress

A NOTABLE centenary passed almost unnoticed this autumn; in August 1914, the Endurance set sail for Antarctica. 

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Zoos and the horrors of war

According to press reports, two traumatised lions have been moved from Gaza to a new home in Jordan. Let me apologise in advance for dwelling on the plight of animals when more than 1,200 people, including hundreds of innocent children, were killed in the 50-day onslaught on that beleaguered enclave.

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Sharks’ short shrift in life aquatic

I WENT ‘cage-diving’ with great white sharks off South Africa’s Dyer Island last month. The giant fish are lured to the boat by a smelly concoction of offal and the head of a large tuna, suspended from a line in the water.

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Home birds baulk at sprint finish

SWALLOWS are still around but most southern migrants have left our shores by now. The wheatears from Iceland, Greenland and Canada, now passing through Ireland on their way to Africa, are ‘the last of the summer wine’.

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The ‘tail’ of the supermarket bird

Willie wagtail has taken up residence in a supermarket in England (Ken Kendall, Irish Examiner, September 13).

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Big five are live and dangerous

FRANCIS MACOMBER, in Hemingway’s celebrated story, is on safari in Africa. A male lion has been roaring during the night, keeping the wealthy American awake in his tent. The animal is tracked next day.

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When more enlightened attitudes towards birds of prey and scavengers developed, the opportunist ravens colonised the lowlands, nesting in quarries and tall trees.

Ravens are adapting to change

RAVENS, according to a study in the US state of Idaho, are changing their behaviour. These huge crows used to live only around mountains, desert anyons and sea cliffs. Now they are nesting on phone masts, buildings and steel towers.

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Fantastic fossils, feds and the FBI

AN unusual documentary film was shown recently in Dublin. Dinosaur 13 depicts an extraordinary series of events which began in 1990. This story is enriched with multi-media content

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