Photograph a rose-ringed parakeet, get right to name it


Ring-necked parakeet A28 in Leiden with number

Translated from Sleutelstad radio in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Leiden parakeets get names and numbers

Leiden – Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:02

Chris de Waard

Already 85 wild parakeets in Leiden have recently received medals around their necks. Researcher Roland Jonker of the Center for Environmental Sciences of Leiden University wants the ‘Parakeets by numbers‘ project to map how the Leiden parakeet population evolves: “We would really like to know where the birds go, we are also curious about the size of the population and how long the Leiden parakeets live.”

The parakeets’ medals have unique letters and numbers, so the parakeets are easily recognizable. It is estimated that in and around Leiden approximately 850 ring-necked parakeets live. So by now about ten percent have clearly visible badges. Jonker hopes that from now on Leiden people will report back massively parakeets with medals by making pictures of them and posting these to the research project’s Facebook page. As a reward, people who rediscover a parakeet may name that bird.

The medals do not hinder the ring-necked parakeets, according to Jonker. Last year a few parakeets got ‘collars’ and when they were caught again later, it turned out they had not been harmed by them.

“Parakeets by numbers” is a joint project of the Center for Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University and City Parrots in collaboration with the Bird Migration Station and Waarneming.nl.

This research project chose medals, not leg bands, for parakeets; as with the numbers, the birds do not have to be caught again to read letters and numbers, causing less stress for the birds.

Blackcap males sing differently to females than to other males


This video is about singing male blackcap.

This morning, Hans Slabbekoorn, who does research on bird songs at Leiden university, was interviewed on Dutch Vroege Vogels radio.

He told about research into songs by blackcap males. It turns out that, if a blackcap male sings to a female, there are more softer notes in the song. While, if he sings to another male, a potential rival, the songs have more louder notes.

Glass art and marine animals exhibition


This video says about itself:

Selections from the the film Proteus, a documentary concerning the life, work, and philosophy of Ernst Haeckel, a 19th century naturalist. The film tells of the man’s character and influences while using his detailed engravings of Radiolaria, single-celled marine organisms, to make animated progressions.

On Saturday 28 June 2014, a new exhibition will start in Naturalis museum in Leiden in the Netherlands.

The museum writes about it (translated):

Summer at Naturalis is dominated by marine animals. Meet the fascinating underwater world of Professor Ernst Haeckel. His brilliant scientific illustrations are the basis for cooperation between the National Glass Museum and Naturalis.

Until September 6, 2014

The exhibition Marine Animals brings nature, science and art together in an event with drawing activities, a special design contest and live glassblowing. The glass objects by artists and designers such as Andries Copier and Jan Taminiau are presented in addition to the natural history objects of Naturalis, surrounded by Haeckel’s drawings. Are you inspired as well? Draw a jellyfish, starfish or seashell and marvel at your lifelike drawing!

Tyrannosaurus rex fragments pieced together by museum visitors


This is a Dutch TV video about the Tyrannosaurus rex discovery in Montana, USA, in 2013.

Last year, an expedition from Naturalis museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in Montana. If there will be enough money, this dinosaur will become part of the Naturalis collection.

Some of the bones of this tyrannosaur are very fragmented. Small pieces were found among lots of sand.

The museum wants to piece cervical vertebrae and cervical ribs of the dinosaur together.

To do that, they need many people.

The museum asks visitors to help.

On 7,8 and 9 June, paleontologist Anne Schulp will tell them about the discovery of this Tyrannosaurus rex. Then, visitors will try to fit bone fragments together.

Sessions will be at 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm; with a maximum of 24 people per session.

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Zebra finches sensitive to human speech, new research


This video is called Wild Zebra Finches in Australia.

From Proceedings of the Royal Society B in Britain:

Zebra finches are sensitive to prosodic features of human speech

Michelle J. Spierings
1,2
and Carel ten Cate
1,2

1
Behavioural Biology, Institute Biology Leiden (IBL), Leiden University, PO Box 9505, Leiden 2300 RA, The Netherlands
2
Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), Leiden University, PO Box 9600, Leiden 2300 RC, The Netherlands

Variation in pitch, amplitude and rhythm adds crucial paralinguistic information to human speech. Such prosodic cues can reveal information about the meaning or emphasis of a sentence or the emotional state of the speaker.

To examine the hypothesis that sensitivity to prosodic cues is language independent and not human specific, we tested prosody perception in a controlled experiment with zebra finches.

Using a go/no-go procedure, subjects were trained to discriminate between speech syllables arranged in XYXY pat-
terns with prosodic stress on the first syllable and XXYY patterns with prosodic stress on the final syllable. To systematically determine the salience of the various prosodic cues (pitch, duration and amplitude) to the zebra
finches, they were subjected to five tests with different combinations of these cues.

The zebra finches generalized the prosodic pattern to sequences that consisted of new syllables and used prosodic features over structural ones to discriminate between stimuli. This strong sensitivity to the prosodic pattern was maintained when only a single prosodic cue was available. The change in pitch was treated as more salient than changes in the other prosodic features.

These results show that zebra finches are sensitive to the same prosodic cues known to affect human speech perception.

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More flowers and birds on biodiversity day


Red clover, 31 May 2014

After the small water animals on the biodiversity day, we returned to birds and flowers. Like this red clower flower.

White clover, 31 May 2014

White clover grew along that bicycle track as well.

White clover again, 31 May 2014

While a white stork was as its nest.

English plantain flowers, 31 May 2014

English plantain flowers again.

Broadleaf plantain as well.

A male pheasant near a ditch behind them.

Broad-leaved dock, 31 May 2014

Broad-leaved dock flowering.

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Baby salamanders, baby fish, flatworm and beetles


Flatworm on egg spoon, 31 May 2014

After the birds and flowers on the biodiversity day on 31 May 2014, to small animals living in water. Like the flatworm on this photo. This worm was photographed on a small egg spoon with water on it. A macro lens was really necessary to photograph a tiny animal like this. Research still has to find out which flatworm species this is.

Many small animals were caught with a landing net in the ditch near the allotment gardens. Water is rather clean there, so much biodiversity.

There were various leech species. Like Erpobdella octoculata, which was named in 1758 by Linnaeus. And Theromyzon tessulatum; which lives in ducks’ bills. One female Theromyzon tessulatum had eggs.

Bugs included specimens of water boatman; a species which may survive in polluted water. There was also the lesser water boatman. And a much smaller related species: Plea minutissima.

And a saucer bug as well.

There were nymphs of various damselfly species.

Crustaceans were represented by an aquatic sowbug.

Common bladder snail, 31 May 2014

And mollusks by a common bladder snail.

Meanwhile, a reed warbler sang.

There were various, still small, common newt larvae.

Among the very smallest animals were Cyclops and Daphnia crustaceans.

Not in the ditch, but in reed beds along the ditch: a beetle species, Donacia vulgaris.

Edible frog sound.

One very small fish is caught. Too young still to say which species. Among fish species living in this ditch are: northern pike, perch, ninespine stickleback and spined loach.

A water mite. One of scores of species in this ditch.

Finally, a great silver water beetle larva.

After the research, all animals went back into the ditch.

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