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endangered species

Making a Home Among the Saguaros

In the arid Arizona desert, where cacti thrive but trees are scarce, the Gila Woodpecker and this Gilded Flicker carve out nest cavities in living saguaros. Tall, old saguaros may be pocked with twenty or more nest holes, bearing witness to decades of woodpecker families. The woodpeckers excavate... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

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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Long-billed Curlew - Singing over the Grassland

The Long-billed Curlew is North America's largest shorebird, seen here in its breeding habitat, a western grassland. They may be the largest, but they're also among the rarest. Their numbers are declining as arid grasslands disappear. Because curlews depend on very different environments for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, migration

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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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

Pelicans Go Fishing

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

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

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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Swans Benefit from Bob Heirman Wildlife Park

In the late 1970s in Washington State, bulldozers began mining gravel on the banks of the most productive steelhead fishing spot on the Snohomish River. This raised the ire of Bob Heirman and his local sportsmen's club. They took on Dave Beck, Jr., head of the mining company and son of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Saving Newell's Shearwaters on Kaua'i

On the north shore of Kaua'i, endangered seabirds called Newell's Shearwaters nest in the mountains. After sunset, shearwaters fly out from the highlands to the ocean, using the moon's reflection on the sea to guide them. But some mistakenly fly toward streetlights, lighted resorts, and even... read more »

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