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human disturbance

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

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

Rusty Blackbirds - A Rusty Recovery

It’s basic black with an inelegant voice. It nests in places we rarely visit. And in relative obscurity, the Rusty Blackbird has suffered one of the most dramatic population declines ever recorded among our songbirds. The International Rusty Blackbird Working Group, a coalition of biologists and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science

The Music of Herring Gulls

For some of us, it’s hard to get excited about gulls. But they are just as fascinating – and have as much to tell us – as other birds. Take the Herring Gull, for example. Its appearance is striking, and its voice is unforgettable. Along the Atlantic coast of North America, the nesting population... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Photographing Spoon-billed Sandpipers in South Korea

The Yellow Sea coast of the Korean peninsula is one of the few places where this Spoon-billed Sandpiper can still be found. BirdNote’s Adam Sedgley joined Gerrit Vyn, Cornell Lab of Ornithology multimedia producer, to photograph and record these critically endangered shorebirds. They... read more »

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Gordon Hempton's One Square Inch of Silence

One Square Inch of Silence, located in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington State, is the quietest place in the Lower 48. This location is not truly silent—as the stream and calling birds in the recording below can attest—but it is free of anthropogenic, or human-generated,... read more »

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Exploring a Quiet Planet with Gordon Hempton

Emmy-winning acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton has circled the globe in pursuit of the most pristine sounds in nature. Now, thanks to our partnership with Gordon and Quiet Planet, his online library, you can hear his recordings in selected BirdNote shows.“Gordon’s recordings give us a rare... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording, sound

Trust and Partnerships Help Birds in Montana

Conserving habitat for birds like this Red-naped Sapsucker isn’t easy. It requires knowledge, respect, and partnerships. Jim Brown, who was instrumental in establishing an Audubon Important Bird Area along 25 miles of the Clark Fork River in Montana, explains: “Most landowners are quite... read more »

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Protecting Birds from Wind Power

Birds take advantage of windy ridges and other land-forms that create thermals and updrafts to carry them on their migrations. These same windy locations recommend themselves for wind-power turbines. It’s a tricky problem: On one hand, a Department of Energy report calls for the US to generate 20... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Eagles on the Elwha River

Salmon once battled their way up the Elwha River to spawn. And every fall, hundreds of eagles feasted on the spent fish. But a century ago, two dams were built on the river, and they reduced the river's salmon population by more than 90 per cent. After nearly 40 years of negotiation, the largest... read more »

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