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Animal Behavior

May 6, 2006 | From Bloomberg
A tiny black-and-white songbird that flies from West Africa to the Netherlands to lay its eggs in mid-April is arriving too late for dinner, in what may be one of the subtler consequences of global warming, a new study says. The number of European pied flycatchers has dropped 90% in some areas because the supply of caterpillars is peaking earlier, leaving the birds with no food for their chicks, according to results in this week's issue of the journal Science.
February 3, 2006 | From Reuters
Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who fans claim is never wrong, predicted six more weeks of winter Thursday, matching the forecast of professional meteorologists. "Phil is incapable of error. If he says six more weeks of winter, you can take it to the bank," said Mike Johnston of the Groundhog Club Inner Circle. According to legend, when the rodent emerges from hibernation Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. Otherwise, warmer weather is near.
December 29, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
Scientists are stumped about why thousands of rare seabirds are suddenly being spotted on land in Northern California. Red phalaropes live many miles off the Pacific Coast and usually land only in the Arctic, where they breed and raise their young. But bird enthusiasts began spotting the birds in Sonoma County on Christmas Day, and flocks have since been reported in residential neighborhoods of San Francisco, Palo Alto and Los Gatos, among other areas.
December 2, 2005 | William Mullen, Chicago Tribune
Keo, a 47-year-old male chimpanzee at Lincoln Park Zoo, paced the floor of his nonpublic living quarters one recent afternoon, clearly annoyed with his keepers. In his rolling gait, he would stride up to a glass wall, stop and glare at the humans on the other side. He was supposed to have been at work on his computer at 1:30 p.m., but now it was 1:40 p.m., and the door to a small adjoining room with the computer was locked so he couldn't enter.
November 28, 2005 | Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
Among the tortoises -- out in their Mojave Desert kingdom of arroyos and burrows fringed with creosote -- the hormones were running high. Among them was an old male courting so many females that scientists dubbed him a "cad." An unusually cooperative female they called a "hussy." Then there was a bully who thrashed competitors, but was no stud, and a huge female who showed little interest in guys. Recent dawn-to-dusk observations have led U.S.
November 19, 2005 | Alex Raksin, Times Staff Writer
Scientists have identified a "fear" gene in mice that when removed turns them into daredevils, seemingly heedless to both inborn fears and risky situations that normal mice have learned to avoid through experience. The gene, known as stathmin, controls the production of a protein linked to the creation of long-term fear patterns, said Rutgers University geneticist Gleb Shumyatsky, who led the study, published Friday in the journal Cell.
November 8, 2005 | Scott Doggett
WILDLIFE officials are reminding Californians not to feed deer in the wake of three recent buck attacks, including a fatal assault on a San Diego man. According to Ryan Broddrick, director of the California Department of Fish and Game, this is the time of year bucks exhibit breeding behavior and become more aggressive. In San Diego County, a 73-year-old Rancho Santa Fe man died several weeks after he was gored in the mouth by a buck he surprised while working in his backyard.
October 8, 2005 | From Reuters
A great white shark has surprised scientists by swimming more than 12,000 miles from South Africa to Australia and back in a journey that sheds new light on the ocean's most feared predator. The journey of the tagged female shark -- named Nicole after Australian actress Nicole Kidman -- was the first transoceanic and longest recorded trip by a shark. Experts reckon she did it for love.
October 1, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two female gorillas have been photographed using sticks as tools to get through swampy areas, the first time the apes have been seen doing so in the wild, researchers reported this week in the online journal Public Library of Science Biology. The findings can help shed light on how humans came to use tools, and also broaden the understanding of how animals use them, the researchers said.
September 24, 2005 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
A species of Amazonian ant has adopted a unique method of providing Lebensraum for its expanding colonies: It kills off all other species of vegetation in an area of forest to give its host trees the "living space" to expand. The ant's housing tracts, called "devil's gardens" by the region's human inhabitants, are curiosities amid the normal diversity of trees, vines, shrubs and wildflowers in the jungle. Biologist Deborah M.
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