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Each Bird Is an Answer

Nature winnows birds. The dangers of their passage over the earth refine them continually. Their capacity to read the world, to find food and each other, are sure signs of birds' ability to meet the demands for which evolution and time have prepared them. But they are not adapted to the man-made... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, reflection

Wimbledon Peregrines

Wimbledon is legendary: the verdant green of the courts, the throngs of fans in sun hats, sightings of royalty ... and lots of pigeons. Since the tennis tournament began in 1877, pigeons nested in the stands and generally made a mess of things. Today, though, very few pigeons attend Wimbledon.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  sports

Pigeon Guillemots Have Fun

Although many seabirds utter ugly-sounding groans and croaks, the Pigeon Guillemot produces a lovely series of trills and whistles. As part of their courtship, they fly side by side in large circles and loops, a perfectly synchronized flying act. These guillemots do not breed until they are... read more »



Sapsuckers drill small holes in the bark of favored trees, then return again and again to eat the sap that flows out. And hummingbirds, kinglets, and warblers come to the sap wells to eat the insects trapped in the sap. Although a sapsucker - like this Red-breasted Sapsucker - may suck a tree's... read more »


Barn Owl, Silent Hunter

The structure and delicate softness of a Barn Owl's feathers allow it to approach its prey almost silently. Its skillful hunting is enhanced by exceptional sight and acute hearing. The owl's ability to locate prey by sound is the most precise of any animal yet tested. Barn Owls are found... read more »


Baby Birds Move Out of the Nest

After they leave the nest but before they take flight, many baby birds - especially robins and flickers - spend time on or near the ground. If you see such a baby bird, and your first thought is to "rescue" it, the better thing to do is let it be. Protect it from cats. Then watch from a distance,... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting, rehabilitation

Egg-laying 101

Birds' eggs range in size from the tiny hummingbird egg to the eight-inch egg of the Ostrich. Swifts lay only one or two eggs. Ducks may lay as many as 16 and don't begin to incubate until all eggs are laid, so all the eggs hatch about the same time. Incubation can take as few as 11 days to as... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting

A Trio of Nuthatches

At less than five inches long, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is the mid-sized nuthatch of the three species in the Northwest, and the most familiar. The White-breasted Nuthatch - like this one here - is the largest of the three, and boasts a louder, honking voice. The smallest of the trio is the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, ornithology

Great Horned Owl - Hungry Young

Great Horned Owls are found in more varied habitats than any other owl in North America. These owls often nest in trees, but may also nest on cliffs in arid areas far from trees. They nest early in the year, even in the dead of winter. The young hatch a month later, vocalizing inside the egg a... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting

Chickadee Codes

Black-capped Chickadees sometimes add extra dees to their calls. Christopher Templeton has cracked the chickadee code. He found that a relatively small threat, maybe a slow-to-maneuver Great Horned Owl, warranted only two dee notes. But a greater threat, an agile Northern Pygmy-Owl, elicited an... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science, vocalization