An extraordinary week for birds.

In Colombia it was the drug-carrier pigeon which crashed into a prison wall in the city of Buga, weighed down by two 4g packets of marijuana that had been attached to its legs.

In Wakefield, it was a crow that provided a most unwanted birdie on a golf course. After hitting a 180-yard shot to within 10ft of the hole, Jonathan Marsden was amazed to see a crow land on the green, walk over to his ball and fly off with it.

Quail was on the menu in San Diego, where scientists found a way to implant the natural behaviour of one species into another. Evan Balaban, a neurobiologist, has found parts of a quail's brain that can be implanted into a chicken to make the chicken bob its head like a quail, and even sing quail songs.

Finally, in Oxford and Ontario, scientists believe they have discovered why most male birds have no penis. It's all to do with efficient reproductive behaviour and sperm choice by females. Apparently absence of a penis gives the female greater control to choose the best sperm with which to fertilise her eggs.

Comments