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Stalking the King Rail

John James Audubon called the King Rail the "Elegant Rail." These rails are the largest rails in North America. And they are also one of the most threatened. American Bird Conservancy is working to save the King Rail by conserving freshwater wetlands and ensuring effective pollution laws. Learn... read more »

Pelicans Go Fishing

Unlike Brown Pelicans, which dive from above to capture fish, American White Pelicans often feed by forming a group. They swim in a line, and—while herding a school of fish—dip their heads all at once. The pelican's broad bill spreads its huge pouch, as the bird pushes through the water. As the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

Unique Chaparral

The dense cover of coastal chaparral supports many birds found nowhere else in the world, including this California Thrasher. The plant species are different, but the chaparral of California is much like shrubby coastal vegetation in southern Europe, South Africa, southern Australia, and Chile.... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

Endangered Plovers

Strolling at sunset along the ocean beach at California's Morro Bay or Washington's Leadbetter Point, you hear a male Snowy Plover. At Milford Point in Connecticut, you might hear a Piping Plover. Plovers are threatened in much of their coastal ranges. Conservation efforts are afoot on the... read more »

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Franklin's Gull - The Half-time Seagull

Gulls are often called "seagulls," but many spend a lot of time far away from the sea. The Franklin's Gull breeds in freshwater wetlands more than 5,000 miles from its winter home at the ocean. After the breeding season, they ascend high in the sky for their long flight across the Equator to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Marbled Murrelets

In recent decades, the number of Marbled Murrelets, a seabird of the Pacific coast, has declined. Scientists in Canada and the US have analyzed the chemical composition of murrelet feathers - some from birds carefully preserved since 1894 by the Burke Museum in Seattle. The analysis shows that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Environmental Success at Long Beach - Patrick Comins

We're on Long Beach West on Long Island Sound, with Patrick Comins. Thousands of migratory shorebirds - including Dunlin like these - stop over here on their long migratory journeys. But this ecological gem could have been lost. Good news! Today it's part of the Stewart B. McKinney National... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Terns of Great Gull Island - Interview with Helen Hays

Helen Hays has been observing and banding the Common and Roseate Terns that nest on Great Gull Island since 1969. She's there with colleagues from the American Museum of Natural History and a host of dedicated volunteers. These terns nearly disappeared when plume-hunters slaughtered them for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

Shorebirds - Not on the Shore

Shorebirds' lives take them to many places other than the shore. Most of the shorebirds we see along our coasts migrate to the Arctic in summer. Here, many nest on the tundra, some along rushing streams, and others on rocky mountainsides. Long-billed Curlews winter on the Florida, Gulf, and... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

Sanderlings

Here and there along winter shorelines, little flocks of pale, silvery shorebirds probe at the water's edge, keeping pace with each wave's ebb and flow. These are Sanderlings, small sandpipers that stay through the winter. Rachel Carson, in Under the Sea Wind, described Sanderlings as running ... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

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