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pesticides and toxins

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 »

Topics & Themes:  ecology

Rat Poison - Bird-safe Alternatives

August, 2014 - GOOD NEWS! Thanks to American Bird Conservancy and others, Reckitt Benckiser has agreed to pull 12 d-CON products off the market! Check the transcript to learn of alternatives for dealing with pests.When birds of prey die from rodenticides, it’s a double whammy, because there are... read more »

In the Field with Wildlife Biologist, Dan Varland

From 1949 to the 1970s, tons of DDT were discharged into ocean waters off the Southern California coast. Even now, decades later, California sea lions that have eaten pesticide-laden prey migrate north as far as British Columbia. Some die and wash up on the beaches of Washington State. There they... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, science

Monitoring the Health of Coastal Raptors

Since 1995, biologist Dan Varland, Executive Director of Coastal Raptors, has been monitoring the health of raptors on the Washington coast, where Peregrine Falcons stoop on shorebirds feeding along the tideline. He’s looking for mercury and DDT in the birds’ blood systems. Though it has been... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, science

Hitchcock's Movie, The Birds

In Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller, "The Birds," Bodega Bay, California, is inexplicably besieged by crazed birds. After the birds attack and kill several residents, the townspeople flee in terror. We never find out why the birds became deranged, but research may give Hitchcock's film some... read more »

Topics & Themes:  humor

Greater Scaup Decline on Long Island Sound

Fifty years ago, the winter bays of Long Island Sound were black with Greater Scaup. "Broadbills," as hunters called them, gathered in huge flocks between Old Saybrook and Greenwich. But the average number of Greater Scaup wintering on Long Island Sound has declined, and lately, the winter... read more »


50th Anniversary of Silent Spring

September 27th marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. The book awakened the public to the dangers of DDT and other pesticides. But many weren't ready to listen. Her opponents called her "an hysterical woman." Even people who could see the effects of the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, history

Barn Swallows Travel South, Featuring Harry Fuller

Barn Swallows are heading south by now, many headed for South America. Birding guide Harry Fuller says: "Just think! You got this tiny little brain, smaller than a walnut, and you spend the summer in Oregon and you've got to go to Chile for the winter, 'cause you're a Barn Swallow, and you can do... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

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 »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Trumpeter Swans - Knowledge Bringers

With up to nine-foot wingspans, Trumpeter Swans are the world's largest water birds. Watching them in flight brings us into the presence of what the poet Rilke called "a more powerful reality - rising and circling, poised but wild." But they came close to disappearing. Through the love, care, and... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, reflection