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endangered species

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

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

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

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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Palila and American Bird Conservancy

High on the north face of Mauna Kea, a volcanic mountain on Hawaii's Big Island, work is under way to save one of the island's most endangered birds, the Palila. Most Palila live on the west face of Mauna Kea. Palila bred in captivity were released on the north face, to join Palila moved there... read more »

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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

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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American Bittern - Thunder-Pumper

The American Bittern's deep, resonant calls have earned it the nicknames "thunder-pumper" and "stake-driver." Bitterns nest in marshes throughout much of Canada, and they winter along both US coasts south into Central America. But bitterns are in serious trouble as breeding birds in the US,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Unique Chaparral

The dense cover of coastal chaparral supports many birds found nowhere else in the world, including this California Thrasher. The plant species are different, but the chaparral of California is much like shrubby coastal vegetation in southern Europe, South Africa, southern Australia, and Chile.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Marbled Murrelets

In recent decades, the number of Marbled Murrelets, a seabird of the Pacific coast, has declined. Scientists in Canada and the US have analyzed the chemical composition of murrelet feathers - some from birds carefully preserved since 1894 by the Burke Museum in Seattle. The analysis shows that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

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