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State of the Birds

Alala - The Hawaiian Crow

'Alala, also known as Hawaiian Crows (although they're more like ravens), were once common on the Big Island of Hawaii. But the birds suffered from persecution by humans, degraded habitat, and disease, and by 2002, no 'Alala were left in the wild. Today, captive breeding is under way in Hawaii,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

The Birds and Plants of Hawaii

Three-quarters of Hawaii's native flowering plants probably came from seeds that hitched rides with birds. Sticky or barbed seeds adhere to the feathers. Other seeds travel in mud caked on a bird's feet. And still others cross the ocean in the stomachs of birds. The most likely seed-carriers were... read more »

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Bald Eagles and Common Murres - Interview with Julia Parrish

For 20 years, Julia Parrish of the University of Washington has been studying seabirds on the Pacific Northwest coast. During this time, the population of Bald Eagles has rebounded. What does the growing eagle population mean for Common Murres? When an eagle flies over a nesting area of murres,... read more »

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Olive-Sided Flycatcher - Preserving a Unique Voice

These days we're hearing the song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher less often. Clear-cutting and fire suppression in forests, along with acid rain, has reduced its available habitat. Pesticides affect the supply of food. American Bird Conservancy has named it a priority species for conservation.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Pelicans Go Fishing

Unlike Brown Pelicans, which dive from above to capture fish, White Pelicans feed by forming a group. They swim in a line, and—while herding a school of fish—all dip their heads at once. The pelican's broad bill spreads its huge pouch, as the bird pushes through the water. As each bird lifts its... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Southbound Swainson's Hawks

At 9,000 feet in the Manzano Range in New Mexico, HawkWatch International counts and bands raptors making their way south along the Rocky Mountain front. Some, like this Swainson's Hawk, fly all the way to the pampas of Argentina. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Southeastern Forests

Native to the Southeast across to East Texas, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers differ from most woodpeckers. They remain in cooperative family groups throughout their lives. And they excavate nests in living trees rather than dead ones, often reusing the same cavities for decades. The federal government... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Lewis's Woodpeckers and Pine Forests

A century of logging and fire control has taken its toll on the mature pine forests of the West, the preferred nest site for this Lewis's Woodpecker. But there is hope. Lewis's Woodpeckers also nest along rivers in large cottonwoods, trees of little value for timber. Also, many remaining tracts... read more »

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Osprey Return to Pennsylvania - Interview with Larry Rymon

Ospreys, common along the rivers of Pennsylvania, stopped nesting there in the 1950s, due to the effects of DDT. But in 1980, Larry Rymon, a professor of biology, began to restore Ospreys to Pennsylvania. Larry says: "Osprey have been a part of this planet's wildlife for 17 million years. They... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, science

Ivory Gull and Conservation

Polar Bears symbolize the icy landscapes of the far north like no other animal. The bear's way of life — its very survival — is inseparable from the Arctic pack-ice. Less familiar is a remarkable bird that shares with the Polar Bear this vital link to ice: this Ivory Gull. The gulls feed on small... read more »

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