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July 2013

More on the northern bald ibis

I have a story in the latest issue of the very cool new science magazine Nautilus. It's about a project to reintroduce migrating northern bald ibises to Europe -- after about 400 years of extinction.

This video (not mine) will help you get a better idea of what these birds look like, as well as what it's like to fly with them.

 

The chicks are ugly/cute, which you can see in this next video (also not mine), taken from a new high viewing chair at the Burghausen colony. These chicks are expected to follow experienced older birds south in August or September.

 

Bald ibises are graceful in long-distance flight, but can look awkward the rest of the time. This was apparent last year when I saw them collecting nesting materials and flying them up to their nests. They often missed their mark. One volunteer stood there and encouraged them, saying, "You did it! Congratulations! Very nice!" in German whenever they actually made it. I made a short video of it (that is to say, this one is mine).

 

If you have any questions about the bald ibis, the reintroduction, or the science of migration, please get in touch here or at the Nautilus site. I hope to write more about this fascinating and beautiful (once you get to know it) bird.