Want noisy miners to be less despootic? Think twice before filling your garden with nectar-rich flowers

Noisy miners are complicated creatures. These Australian native honeyeaters live in large cooperative groups, use alarm calls to target specific predators, and sometimes help raise the young of other miners. But they’re perhaps best known for their aggressive and coordinated attacks on other birds—a behavior known as “mobbing.” We conducted a study investigating some of … Read more

Monarch butterflies tagged with stickers in Chicago garden as they migrate south

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Near the driving range in Chicago’s Lakeview area, a faint but sweet smell floats in the air. One can follow it to a collection of beds where flowers sprout, surrounding a community garden in which vegetables and herbs grow. A hummingbird and a goldfinch fly close to the flowers. And now, … Read more

Look up this spring and you might see little ravens build soft, cozy nests from your garden trees

Credit: Shutterstock Spring is nearing and birds will soon start nesting in trees in backyards across Australia. The trees in our garden are now 40 years old—not old by tree standards, but old enough to be among the tallest in our suburbs, offering refuge for local native birds. When I propagated Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) … Read more

Iraq’s Garden of Eden now ‘like a desert’

Children stand on a boat lying on the dried-up bed of southern Iraq’s receding Chibayish Marshes. To feed and cool his buffaloes, Hashem Gassed must cross 10 kilometers (six miles) of sunburnt land in southern Iraq, where drought is devastating swathes of the mythical Mesopotamian Marshes. The reputed home of the biblical Garden of Eden, … Read more

Scientists reveal garden eels’ unique way of feeding

Garden eels anchor the lower part of their body in burrows, and face their heads against the current as they prey on zooplankton. The species pictured is the spotted garden eel, Heteroconger hassi. Credit: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology The first lab study on garden eels shows how these shy creatures use their burrows, … Read more