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Experts recommend limiting ravens, owls to save sage grouse from extinction

CALGARY - Conservation experts are making five main recommendations to protect one of Canada's most highly endangered birds from extinction. One suggestion is to protect the sage grouse by potentially reducing predator numbers, such as ravens. The ideas come from a workshop by the Calgary Zoo that brought together biologists, ranchers, government and energy industry representatives. Axel Moehrenschlager, head of the zoo's Centre for Conservation Research, says what's surprising is that many of the predators are other birds.

World's oldest flamingo dies in Australian zoo, aged 83

Staff at Adelaide Zoo were in mourning Friday after the world's oldest flamingo, and their oldest resident, died aged 83. The flamingo, known as "Greater" after his species, was put to sleep on Thursday due to complications associated with old age, having arrived at the zoo in 1933. Greater is survived by long-term friend Chilly -- a Chilean flamingo -- who is in his 60s and will be monitored to see how he reacts to the death.

Japan transfers 7 crested ibises to China

Japan handed to China on Wednesday seven crested ibises that were born in central Japan to birds provided earlier by China. The Japanese Environment Ministry transported the seven ibises -- picked from a group of 13 born at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in Niigata Prefecture from last year -- from Sado Island to Niigata airport where a handover ceremony was held.

Cooler climate helped evolution of penguins

Penguins waddled into the book of life around 20 million years ago and diversified thanks to global cooling which opened up Antarctica for habitation, a study said on Wednesday. Scientists led by Sankar Subramanian of Griffith University in Australia sequenced telltale signatures of DNA from the genome of 11 penguin species that are alive today. They compared these stretches to make a "molecular clock" -- a way of calculating how species evolve on the basis of regular mutations in DNA.

Whooping cranes learn migration from elders

Whooping cranes learn how to migrate by following elders in their midst, suggesting that social influence has a larger bearing than genetics on the birds' behavior, scientists said Thursday. The large, white birds are endangered in the wild of North America, with just one native population of about 250 in Canada that spends winters along the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Queen's swan found barbecued on British riverbank

British police were on Wednesday investigating the killing and apparent barbecueing of one of Queen Elizabeth II's swans. The bird was butchered, burnt and stripped of its flesh before the carcass was dumped on a riverbank near Windsor Castle, west of London, police and an animal charity said. All wild mute swans in Britain are considered the property of the crown and it is an offence to kill one. Animal charity worker Wendy Hermon said she had felt "sick" when she found the bird on Sunday.

Too many geese big honking problem for North: scientists

Wildlife scientists want Inuit hunters to kill more Arctic-nesting geese in an effort to manage populations so out of control the birds are destroying their own habitat. Experts acknowledge the plan isn't likely to work and admit they don't know what to do about ballooning numbers of Ross's geese that are denuding large areas of the North.

U.S. Marines conduct Osprey flights after 10 p.m. in Okinawa

The U.S. Marine Corps flew MV-22 Osprey aircraft after 10 p.m. earlier this week in Okinawa, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday, despite a Japan-U.S. agreement to limit flights to the necessary minimum from late at night through early morning. "I want to ask the U.S. side for detailed information," Onodera told a news conference. The MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft made flights around Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, after 10 p.m. from Monday to Wednesday, according to the minister.

Remains of fossilized 'giant pelican' found in Peru

The fossilized remains of a giant pelican-like bird dating back some 35 million years have been uncovered in Peru's Ica desert, paleontologists said Friday. Klaus Honninger, who heads the team that made the find, said the bird resembled a giant pelican that stood more than two meters (6.6 feet) tall dating from the Oligocene epoch. The Oligocene, part of the Paleogene Period, spanned from 40 million years to 23 million years before present day, and was marked by the extinction of numerous species, a general cooling and increased aridity.

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Following is a summary of current odd news briefs. Aquarium fights to get disabled turtle swimming again
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