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endangered species

The Drumming of the Ruffed Grouse

A male Ruffed Grouse performs his drumming display on a resonant, fallen log in the shelter of a brushy thicket in the forest. Drumming announces a male's territory and his desire for a mate. Ruffed Grouse thrive in young forests. Wildfires once created that type of habitat. Today, wise forest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

The State of the Birds on Kauai

The native birds of Hawaii, like birds of many island groups, have been hit hard by human-induced changes. This Kauai O'o, a forest bird, has not been seen in 20 years. Its bell-like song once rang widely through the mist-shrouded rainforest. There may still be time to save other birds. Read... read more »

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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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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

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

Rare Sounds Saved by Macaulay Library

The tranquil song of the Kaua'i O'o graced the high, dense forests of Kaua'i until 1987, when it was heard no more. The voice of only one member of this family of birds, now all extinct, remains immortalized on tape. The Macaulay Library maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

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

Stalking the King Rail

John James Audubon called the King Rail the "Elegant Rail." These rails are the largest rails in North America. And they are also one of the most threatened. American Bird Conservancy is working to save the King Rail by conserving freshwater wetlands and ensuring effective pollution laws. Learn... read more »

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

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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