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human disturbance

Young people are discovering nature in Denver's urban oasis

“You don’t have to look very far to see the impact of climate change,” says 15-year-old Asher Millikan, at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge just outside Denver. Photo by Meredith Turk for BirdNote.The Arsenal was saved by birds. Now, this young woman is ready to save it again... read more »

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What does it take to record the world’s birds?

What does it take to record the world’s birds? BirdNote and Cornell Lab of Ornithology producer and photographer Gerrit Vyn take you deep into the Brazilian forest in search of the critically endangered Araripe Manakin — and deep inside the Lab’s archive.By Gerrit Vyn, Mary McCann and BirdNote... read more »

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Dippers on the Elwha

In 2014, the dams on the Elwha River in Washington State were removed. As the river ran free again, salmon from the Pacific were able to spawn upstream for the first time in 100 years, dramatically improving conditions for American Dippers. Recent research has demonstrated that birds with access... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Forest Fires, Recovery, and Birds

Forest fires have profound effects on birds and other wildlife — for better or worse. Birds such as this Black-backed Woodpecker find a bonanza of insects under burned bark and ample snags in which to carve out nest holes. Woodpecker cavities are often reused by birds like bluebirds. And birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

The Cowbird Story, Revisited...

You may have heard the story of the Brown-headed Cowbird evolving its habit of "nest parasitism," due to the bison, wandering the prairies. BirdNote science advisor, Dennis Paulson, has a different take on the matter. He writes:The bison story obviously has great currency, as I’ve heard it from... read more »

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How Humans Affect Competition Among Birds

Evolutionary time is long — the earliest ancestors of birds emerged around 50 million years ago. Against that yardstick, the length of time humans have been living in cities is a blip. But that blip has resulted in huge changes for urban birds, crows in particular, as John Marzluff explores in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

The Lark Ascending

In “The Lark Ascending,” composer Ralph Vaughan Williams conjures up a bucolic vision of pastoral England. Small fields, hedgerows, an early summer’s morning. And the display flight of a Eurasian Skylark: Alauda arvensis. The lark — not much bigger than a swallow — has been severely affected by... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, music

The Golden Eagles of Ireland

Golden Eagles were once revered as a symbol of wisdom and power by the ancient druids in Ireland. But the Golden Eagle’s voice was not heard in Ireland for most of the Twentieth Century. In the spring of 2007, a Golden Eagle pair hatched a chick for the first time since 1912, in Glenveagh... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Traveling over 1,500 miles to experience "One Square Inch"

A BirdNote listener in Texas heard the story about Gordon Hempton’s One Square Inch of Silence, located in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. Known as the quietest place in the United States, the site is emblematic of the need to protect natural wilderness areas from human noise. She... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Shifts in Habitat = Shifts in Species

We asked David Sibley, creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, how changes in the environment are affecting birds such as this Brown Thrasher. He says, “A shift of habitat has caused a shift in the species” he's observed in the Northeastern US. For example, Wild Turkeys, Pileated... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

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