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endangered species

Mysterious Disappearance of Evening Grosbeaks

In 1987, when Project FeederWatch began, Evening Grosbeaks were among the most common birds at birdfeeders during the Northeast winter. Now they're completely absent in many of those same areas. In the West, too, they're showing up in reduced numbers. Why have so many Evening Grosbeaks... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, citizen science

Endangered Plovers

Strolling at sunset along the ocean beach at California's Morro Bay or Washington's Leadbetter Point, you hear a male Snowy Plover. At Milford Point in Connecticut, you might hear a Piping Plover. Plovers are threatened in much of their coastal ranges. Conservation efforts are afoot on the... 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

Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

The Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his farm in the 1940s. In his Sand County Almanac, a classic of conservation and nature writing, Leopold brought to life scenes of nature, a month at a time. Field Sparrows aren't as common today as they were in Aldo Leopold's day... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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

Groove-billed Anis, Communal Nesters

Groove-billed Anis gather in loose groups. And with good reason. They nest communally. As many as four or five pairs of birds may use one nest, a bulky cup of twigs lined with fresh leaves. When the dominant female ani begins to lay her own eggs, the other females lay simultaneously. Up to 20... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Spring Birds Arrive in the Eastern Forest

May in an Eastern hardwood forest, and the chorus of spring birdsong is nearing its peak. The Carolina Wren, a year-round resident, has been singing since the end of winter. The resounding notes of this Ovenbird let us know it has returned safely from Belize, after a long flight across the Gulf... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Cerulean Warblers Link Conservation on Two Continents

In winter, the Cerulean Warbler forages in tree-tops of the Andes Mountains. In May, at the other end of a 2,500-mile migration, the very same bird sings from the tree-tops in the Appalachian Mountains. The Cerulean Warbler is one of the most threatened birds in the US. American Bird Conservancy... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Condor #23 and Lead

California Condor #23 is the hero of the California Condor Restoration Project. The project has worked for 30 years to reintroduce captive-bred condors into the wild. Number 23 and his mate were the first released condors to successfully raise a chick on their own. Yet today, #23 sits alone. Two... read more »

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Boreal Chickadees Stay Home for the Winter

Boreal Chickadees live in the boreal forest year-round. How do they survive the harsh winter? First, during summer, they cache a great deal of food, both insects and seeds. Then in fall, they put on fresh, heavier plumage. And their feathers are denser than most birds', creating a comfy down... read more »

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