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habitat protection

Sanctuary and Bird Sound - with Patti McLead

When Patti and Patrick McLead purchased land near the Edwards Plateau in Texas, they wanted to create a bed and breakfast that doubled as a bird sanctuary. They built cottages and created a meadow. When they put in a pond, birds were quick to respond. This Black-crested Titmouse is among the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

Inside the burrow of a Rhinoceros Auklet

Everyone knows puffins. Who could forget their comical behavior — with an appearance to match? But you may not know about the Rhinoceros Auklet, a close relative to puffins, found in the Pacific Ocean. Its gray plumage is duller than that of puffins, but during the breeding season it sports a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, science

Wood Ducks on the Potomac

Wild, undammed rivers make dangerous neighbors. A sign-board near the riverbank at one of the entrances to Potomac National Park offers direct evidence of the river’s perils — 57 drownings in ten years between Great Falls and Little Falls — about an 11-mile stretch.The Potomac seems most fearsome... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Redhead Alert - A Walk along the Potomac Shore

Redheads stand out among us in the crowd. From historical figures like Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I, to screen stars like Lucille Ball and Damian Lewis, a red head — with or without a crown on it — can cause a stir.The same phenomenon obtains when it comes to birder sightings. Bright red head... read more »

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The Duck Stamp - From 1934 to 2014

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

The Federal Duck Stamp – An 80-Year-Old Institution Born in the Worst of Times to Make Things Better!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Sharp-tailed Grouse on a Lek

During spring at Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota, male Sharp-tailed Grouse  - like the one pictured here - perform their elaborate mating dances on a matted patch of ground called a lek. They stomp their feet, extend their wings, and zip around the lek. Then, in an instant,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, science

Theodore Roosevelt - Presidential Birder

Of all American presidents, just one might have halted the playing of “Hail to the Chief” so he could listen to an Orchard Oriole singing — Theodore Roosevelt, “the conservation president.” During his presidency, Roosevelt helped establish 51 preserves for birds, five national parks, 18 national... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Hardy Birds - Mergansers

Even on a frigid winter day, a wander along the Potomac brings unexpected rewards. January can offer one of the more exceptional sightings: Hooded Mergansers. I watched a pair working the slower channels of the river and marveled at not only their appearance, but their toughness in fishing hour... read more »

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