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England

Canary in a Coal Mine

Beginning in 1911, miners in Great Britain carried a canary in a cage with them down into the mines. Why? Carbon monoxide can build to deadly levels, and it has no smell. If the canary weakened or stopped singing, miners knew to get out of the mine — and quickly. Why use a bird instead of, say, a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

The Robin's Namesake

Like the American Robin, the European Robin is a bird of yards and gardens. But it’s not much bigger than a chickadee. The robin’s likeness turns up everywhere from Mother Goose rhymes, Peter Rabbit stories, and whiskey labels to postage stamps and Christmas cards. On at least two occasions, the ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Great Tits Learn Via Social Networks

Many years ago in the United Kingdom, milk was delivered in bottles with foil caps. But birds of several species learned how to peck through the foil to get at the cream. How did they do it? To find out, investigators recently conducted a series of experiments involving Great Tits. Males were... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Wimbledon Raptors - And Pigeons

Wimbledon is legendary: the verdant green of the courts, the throngs of fans in sun hats, sightings of royalty ... and lots of pigeons. Since the tennis tournament at the All England Club began in 1877, pigeons nested in the stands and generally made a mess of things. Today, though, very few... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction
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