Bird news from Slovakia

This 2014 video is called Displaying of Great Bustard in Austria, video 1/3.

And these two videos are the sequels.

From Tomas Novak in Bratislava, Slovakia, today on Twitter:

Today’s best: 12 G[rea]t Bustard, 4 Cr[ested] Lark, c15 Linnet, Hen Harrier, c20 Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher, 2 Smew, 2 Goosander

Why birds fly in V-shaped flocks, bald ibis study

This is a video, in Italian, about bald ibises in Austria.

From Science:

A bit of altruism makes V-shaped flocks of birds possible

By Virginia Morell

2 February 2015 3:00 pm

It seems like a job no bird would want. The leader of a V-shaped flock works the hardest, fighting strong air currents while others save energy by traveling in his wake. So why would any bird volunteer to be in front? From an evolutionary standpoint, helping others makes sense if all the migrants are related. But that’s not always the case with migrating flocks.

To find out how birds manage this dilemma, scientists outfitted a flock of 14 juvenile bald ibises (Geronticus eremita) with GPS data loggers and guided them in an ultralight plane from Austria, where they’d been hand-raised, to Italy on an autumn migration. The loggers recorded each bird’s geographical location, velocity, and position within the flock. Eight of the birds were unrelated, and there were three pairs of siblings.

On their journey, the ibises flew in formations of two to 12 birds, changing positions frequently. The researchers’ analysis showed that the birds were working cooperatively, sportingly taking turns to lead and follow. Indeed, the researchers discovered that the ibises precisely matched the amount of time spent in the lead and trailing positions regardless of their genetic relationship, they report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The birds’ cooperative travels provide a rare and “convincing example” of reciprocal altruism in animals, the scientists say. All the birds had a chance to surf in another’s wake, and all spent time doing the hard work at the front. And they switched positions so often and with such rapidity (taking less than a second to move), that the benefits of cooperating were immediate. The findings may help explain how such “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” behaviors can evolve.

Neo-nazi vandalism in Mauthausen concentration camp

This music video from Greece says about itself:

Mikis Theodorakis Songs of Songs (Mauthausen)

The poet Iacovos Kambanellis was a prisoner in Mauthausen during World War II. At the beginning of the sixties, he wrote his memories of this time under the title of “Mauthausen”. In 1965, he also wrote four poems on the subject and he gave Mikis the opportunity to set them to music. Mikis did this with much pleasure, firstly because he liked the poetry of the texts, and secondly because he was locked up during the Nazi occupation in Italian and German prisons, but mainly because this composition gives us the chance to remind the younger generation of history, that history that must never be forgotten.

Picture: Liberated prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria, give a rousing welcome to Cavalrymen of the 11th Armored Division. The banner across the wall was made by Spanish Loyalist prisoners. It says “The Spanish Antifascists greet the Liberating Forces”. The text is written in English and Russian as well. 6 may 1945.

From the Jewish Telegraph Agency:

Swastikas, ‘Hitler’ written on Mauthausen walls

February 2, 2015 11:52am

Four swastikas and “Hitler” were found on the former Mauthausen concentration camp.

The graffiti was written with a felt pen and carved onto walls at the former camp, the Upper Austria State Police said Monday in a statement, according to Austrian news reports. An investigation was launched into the incident at Mauthausen, which is now a memorial and museum.

The graffiti, about a half-inch high, was discovered in the former laundry and in the bunker area after visitors complained to a memorial employee on Sunday, according to the Austria Press Agency.

It is not known when the vandalism took place, though police reportedly suspect that it occurred the day before the discovery during public visiting hours.