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June 2022

Vol. 50, No. 3

John's World of Birds: Happy Feet (Redux)

John Kricher

Herring Gull foot-paddling in Scotland. Source: Video by “Dunnock_D” https://flic.kr/p/qZPyTM (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Herring Gull foot-paddling in Scotland. Source: Video by “Dunnock_D” https://flic.kr/p/qZPyTM. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Bird behavior is arguably the most vibrant form of behavior exhibited by any animal group and it is made even more wondrous by the fact that birds are easy to observe. The combination of a rich diversity of more than 10,000 species plus the supercharged physiology of birds has provided them with a complex brain capable of learning and innovation. Birds represent a form of alien intelligence that is not alien; they live among us, here on Earth, and demonstrate their unique and varied behaviors daily. All we have to do is pay attention and watch. And that is what this and future columns will be about. I have watched birds for threescore years and then some. Memories abound, aided by reams of field notes. Which brings us to Oakland, California.

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