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State of the Birds

Snail Kite - Bird of the Everglades

When Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature declared the Everglades, America's largest wetland, totally worthless. In 1905, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was elected governor on a campaign to drain them. So over the years, the slowly flowing "River of Grass" has been replaced by a series of... read more »

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Wade Troutman and the Sharp-tailed Grouse

Eastern Washington wheat farmer, Wade Troutman (left), actively manages his farm to protect habitat for the Sharp-tailed Grouse. Jeff Weissman (right) buys Wade's wheat for his bakery in Seattle. Learn more about IRIS, Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship. Gathering Our Voice helps... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Surfin' Bird Meets Surfbird

The Surfbird - nothing like the "Surfin' Bird" of 1960s Trashmen fame - makes its home along the Pacific Coast. An oddly constructed sandpiper, the Surfbird forages on rocky jetties along the coast. The bird's winter range ranks among the longest and narrowest of any bird, from Kodiak Island to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Saltmarsh Sparrow - Interview with Russ Greenberg

Imagine a heat wave, and your body covered in down and feathers. How do birds cope? Well, Saltmarsh Sparrows use their bills to shed excess heat. Russ Greenberg, head of the Migratory Bird Center of the Conservation Biology Institute at the Smithsonian, explains that these birds' bills convect... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Swainson's Hawks Migrate South

In autumn, hundreds of thousands of Swainson's Hawks migrate to South America. With the help of a satellite tracking device, let's follow an individual male. On September 14, he leaves his breeding territory near Hanna, Alberta; reaches southwest Saskatchewan by September 23; passes through... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Seabirds in Decline

Scoter populations in South Puget Sound have declined by 69% since 1995. Other seabirds -- like this Barrow's Goldeneye -- have not fared well, either. Suspects include heavy metal contamination, a drop in herring populations, derelict fishing gear, and the destruction of shoreline habitat.Find... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Spectacled Eiders Dive in the Ice in Winter

Many Spectacled Eiders spend the winter in ice-free openings in the Bering Sea, above what was once the Bering Land Bridge. In spring, the ducks, which live only along the coasts of Alaska and far eastern Russia, fly to tundra lakes to breed and feed on aquatic insects. After breeding, they... read more »

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Habitat and the Tipping Point

Rick Potvin is the manager of the McKinney National Wildlife Refuge on Long Island Sound. He oversees coastal and low-lying habitat for wildlife. Rick says, "What we need to do is to get our habitats in the most robust condition we can - because there will be a tipping point, and the species that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Cranes Bring Economic Benefit to the Platte

Every March, Sandhill Cranes return to the Platte River in Nebraska, on their way to nesting grounds in coastal Alaska, northern Canada, and Siberia. Birdwatchers come from all over and contribute mightily to the state's economy - as much as $30 million per year. In addition to being of intrinsic... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  festival

Pinyon Jay

Pinyon Jays take their name from pinyon pines. Extracting the seeds from cones, the jays fill their throats. Then they fly to a caching site, sometimes miles away, to push each seed into the leaf litter. Collectively, they cache millions of seeds, some of which sprout before they can be eaten.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

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