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endangered species

The Bubbly Bobolink

Washington Irving called the Bobolink "the happiest bird of our spring." Emily Dickinson called the Bobolink "the rowdy of the meadow" for its bubbly, jangling song. Bobolinks have declined, due to the loss of grasslands. Farmers who delay mowing their hayfields until mid-summer or later - after... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

American Woodcock - Timberdoodle

As the sun sets on a northern Midwest forest, an American Woodcock walks slowly from the cover of the forest to a nearby clearing. Then, the woodcock takes off on a courtship flight. At the apex of its flight, the woodcock circles, then descends in a slow spiral, putt-putting like a tiny car... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

California Condor

During the days of mammoths and saber-toothed cats, California Condors thrived over much of the continent. Today, they're one of the most endangered birds in the US. The condor's main survival problem is high mortality due to lead poisoning. Condors eat animal carcasses, often containing lead... read more »

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Landowners Help Endangered Sage-Grouse

When it comes to saving endangered species, habitat is nearly always critical. For this Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird now endangered in parts of its range, it comes down to preserving stands of healthy sagebrush. And essential to saving sage habitat is the cooperation of landowners. Recently, Rob... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Bobolinks and Grasslands

Male Bobolinks are first to arrive on their breeding grounds in the grasslands. Why are there fewer Bobolinks than in decades past? Probably because the landscape of North America has changed so much. Bobolinks originally nested on native prairies of the Midwest and southern Canada. Much of the... read more »

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Conserving Wetlands for Black Rails

Black Rails are marsh-inhabiting birds, more often heard than seen. Many Black Rails nest in marshes along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Midwest. But in winter they concentrate in the coastal marshes of East Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, areas that face many threats. US populations of Black... read more »

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Buff-breasted Sandpiper

A male Buff-breasted Sandpiper courts a female on their breeding grounds far north of the Arctic Circle. He raises his wings, flashing their silvery-white undersides, as he sings his clicking serenade. These birds spend much of the year on grasslands in Argentina, migrating to the Arctic in late... read more »

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Terns of Great Gull Island - Interview with Helen Hays

Helen Hays has been observing and banding the Common and Roseate Terns that nest on Great Gull Island since 1969. She's there with colleagues from the American Museum of Natural History and a host of dedicated volunteers. These terns nearly disappeared when plume-hunters slaughtered them for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

American Golden-Plover Lays Claim to the Tundra

A male American Golden-Plover proclaims its nesting territory with an aerial display known as the "butterfly flight." After flying up 50 feet, the plover switches to slow motion, raising its wings languidly until the wingtips nearly touch over its body, then lowering them gradually until they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Condor Release - Interview with Eddie Feltes

In late September 2011, three California Condors were released near the Grand Canyon. Eddie Feltes of The Condor Recovery Project says: "We open up the gates from a blind and watch those birds take to the sky." The first few days are the most crucial in the birds' life, because they've never... read more »

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