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Citizen Scientists Monitor Pigeon Guillemots

Govinda Rosling, co-coordinator of the Pigeon Guillemot Research Group, is one of 60 volunteer citizen scientists who dedicate their time during the summer months to survey birds at 25 breeding colonies. The guillemots are an indicator species -- their health really echoes the overall health of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

Studying Pigeon Guillemots as a Citizen Scientist

What’s it like to be a citizen scientist studying Pigeon Guillemots? It’s fun!It’s early on a calm, July morning. I’m with Govinda Rosling, co-coordinator of the Pigeon Guillemot Research Group on Washington’s Whidbey Island. We’re surveying Pigeon Guillemots in the colony at the feeder bluffs at... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science

Point Reyes Bird Observatory

Point Reyes Bird Observatory -- now known as Point Blue Conservation Science -- works to understand how healthy ecosystems function and to reduce the harmful effects of climate change. For example, in the Farallon Islands (pictured here courtesy of Marty Knapp), scientists recorded dramatic... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound

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 »

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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 »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, science

The Avocets of Bolivar Flats

The shallow waters and wide mudflats of the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary are alive with thousands of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. American Avocets are often among the most abundant birds on the flats, with 5,000 or more here most winters. The avocets have sensitive bills that curve upward.... read more »

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Birds Respond to a Storm - With Patrick Comins

How do birds fare before a storm? Patrick Comins of Audubon Connecticut says, "Seabirds try to avoid a hurricane if they can, but sometimes end up getting blown off course. Most landbirds are pretty tuned in to weather changes. Whenever there's a storm approaching, you'll notice a lot of frenzied... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Superstorm Sandy's Effects on Birds and Habitat

How did birds and their habitat fare in the wake of Superstorm Sandy? Patrick Comins of Audubon Connecticut, says: "It was extremely powerful. There was significant erosion and over-washing of dunes and beaches. I've had the chance to visit a few of the important nesting areas for Piping Plovers,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  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 »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Rock Sandpipers Are Tough - Homer Spit Christmas Bird Count

It's winter on Homer Spit in southern Alaska, and Rock Sandpipers feed along the gravelly shore. These small shorebirds scurry this way and that, probing into the gravel and seaweed. Anything that moves is fair game, especially amphipods, the little crustaceans that hop about when exposed. The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, citizen science

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