Your choice of vampire Halloween costumes just got more interesting: vampire birds are a thing and they sound kind of terrifying.
With the exception of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” I can really think of any other instances where smaller, everyday birds are painted as the terrifying predator. But now that I’ve learned about vampire finches and oxpeckers, I might never look at my backyard the same.
Let’s start with the vampire finches first. They are flying bloodsuckers with razor sharp beaks which they use to stab the necks of their victims so they can quench their evil thirsts. Vampire finches actually feed mostly on OTHER BIRDS that for some reason let them. Luckily they can only be found in the Galapagos Islands (for now), but they don’t sound like anything I’d want migrating towards the mainland anytime soon.
And now the oxpeckers. These equally smallish birds inhabit deserts and seem just as nefarious as their island brethren. Scientists used to think oxpeckers had more of a mutual relationship with other species; namely they would hang around herds of savannah mammals and eat their ticks and parasites. However, it turns out they don’t always stop pecking after consuming the external pest, but they continue to peck away at the host itself.
Here are some more geek from the week:
- The paper nautilus is a remnant of the ancient ocean and it’s awesome. [VIDEO]
- This wallpaper installation at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery is made from thousands of insects.
- The nitrates in beet juice might be help stave of altitude sickness.
- Scientists are looking into how chocolate might be used to treat cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s.
- The sounds of words might be correlated with their meaning across languages.
- Our digital environment is altering our relationship to sound and noise.
- You can see the Earth from space EVERY SINGLE DAY thanks to this new NASA website.
- Why the Star Wars tie fighter is a terribly designed spacecraft.
- Jack-o-lantern versions of famous physics because MATH IS SPOOKY!
- Speaking of spooky, Dutch physicists claim to have quantum entangled two electrons over a kilometer apart.
Keep on geeking!
@Summer_Ash, In-house Astrophysicist