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State of the Birds

Counting Kirtland's Warblers - Interview with Karen Markey

Learn about one of the first species to be listed as endangered after Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act in 1973: The Kirtland's Warbler. Karen Markey and others make an annual census of the birds, to help federal and state agencies determine how well the recovery plan for the warblers... read more »

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Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrikes are found across much of the United States in open country, like pasture and sagebrush. Male shrikes are well known for impaling their prey on thorns, creating a larder that may help impress potential mates. But pesticides and the loss of habitat to residential and commercial... read more »

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Northern Pintail - Elegance and Decline

In recent years, unlike many other North American ducks, Northern Pintails present a portrait of sharp decline. Pintails nest in grasslands near seasonal wetlands. Increasingly, these grasslands are being plowed up to grow crops such as corn. But people who love pintails are responding. Ducks... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Restoring Native Prairie

Across the country, native prairie occupies only small fragments of its former range. On Washington's Whidbey Island, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust is restoring a remnant prairie. Land Steward Cheryl Lowe explains: "We're planting 23 different species of native prairie plants." As the prairie... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

Saving Hawaii's Birds - With American Bird Conservancy

American Bird Conservancy and other organizations are working to make Hawaiian birds a top national priority for conservation. Of all the endangered bird species in the United States, more than one-third are found only in Hawaii. Biologists on Hawaii's Big Island are working to restore this... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

Lights Out Toronto - Saving Birds

Urban light creates a fatal attraction and disorients migrating birds, which often fly around until exhausted and drop to the ground. Or they may strike a building or window. To prevent these needless deaths, the city of Toronto has created a "Lights Out Toronto" program. Lights go out in city... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

Mono Lake - Seeking a Balance

More than 1.5 million Eared Grebes, 30% of the North American population, gather at Mono Lake each fall. But as late as the 1990s, the lake was gravely threatened by the diversion of its water to Los Angeles. After years of court battles, Los Angeles, the lake's advocates, and concerned... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

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 »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  gardening

Peregrine Comeback

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which came out in 1962, linked the pesticide DDT to the decline of many birds, including songbirds. But Peregrine Falcons and other raptors had declined, too. When the birds ingested DDT, it caused their eggshells to thin and break under the weight of the incubating... read more »

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Saving Snags for Red-headed Woodpeckers

Red-headed Woodpeckers excavate cavities in large, dead trees called snags. Yet, over much of the Red-head's range, snags are frequently cut down as unsightly, or because they make good firewood. There are ways we can help the Red-headed Woodpecker -- and many other woodpeckers, too. The key is... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  gardening, nesting

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