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human disturbance

Snail Kite - Bird of the Everglades

When Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature declared the Everglades, America's largest wetland, totally worthless. In 1905, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was elected governor on a campaign to drain them. So over the years, the slowly flowing "River of Grass" has been replaced by a series of... read more »

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Seabirds in Decline

Scoter populations in South Puget Sound have declined by 69% since 1995. Other seabirds -- like this Barrow's Goldeneye -- have not fared well, either. Suspects include heavy metal contamination, a drop in herring populations, derelict fishing gear, and the destruction of shoreline habitat.Find... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Midway Project - The Plastic Gyre, with Chris Jordan

Artist Chris Jordan brings a deep energy to a huge environmental problem - the accumulation of plastic debris in the world's oceans. He's photographing its effect on the Laysan Albatrosses of Midway Island. Adult albatrosses mistake pieces of plastic for squid and fish and feed them to their... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Saving Newell's Shearwaters on Kaua'i

On the north shore of Kaua'i, endangered seabirds called Newell's Shearwaters nest in the mountains. After sunset, shearwaters fly out from the highlands to the ocean, using the moon's reflection on the sea to guide them. But some mistakenly fly toward streetlights, lighted resorts, and even... read more »

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Stability and Change in Nature - Interview with Julia Parrish

For two decades Julia Parrish of the University of Washington has studied the seabirds - like this Common Murre - of the Pacific Northwest Coast. What are her conclusions after 20 years? "I have been so often surprised and proved wrong. I'll have a concept or hypothesis, make a prediction about... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Marbled Murrelet - Interview with Martin Raphael

The endangered Marbled Murrelet is a bird of two worlds. Martin Raphael, a biologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, explains: "It lives in the marine world. But then it nests on the limbs of large, old trees. Its fate is tied not only to the fate of the trees, but also on marine... read more »

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Blackbird Deaths Spark Concern

On January 1, 2011, residents of Beebe, Arkansas awoke to find hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds lying dead on their lawns and in the streets. Birds in a nearby roost had all taken off at 10:15 PM, when fireworks shook the windows of nearby houses. They died by colliding with wires, trees, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Gulf Oil Spill - One Year Later

Sound recordist and photographer, Gerrit Vyn, went with a crew from the Cornell Lab to film and photograph birds in the Gulf of Mexico right after the Deep Horizon oil spill in April 2010. They visited the marshes and the barrier islands that host amazing concentrations of pelicans and terns and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Piping Plovers on the Beach - Interview with Patrick Comins

Young Piping Plovers hatch in early summer, in competition for use of the beach. Patrick Comins, Director of Conservation for Audubon Connecticut, says if there were no fences or exclosures, it would be very easy to step on the eggs. "You can hardly see them. We have to put up little cages around... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs

The Red Knot returns to the Delaware Bay each May to feed. These sandpipers are on their way to their nesting grounds in the northern Arctic and stop here to refuel - their stopover coincides with the spawning of horseshoe crabs. But beginning in the 1980s, vast numbers of the crabs were... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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