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Pelicans Go Fishing

There are two kinds of pelicans in North America – the American White Pelican and the Brown Pelican. And they’ve evolved different tactics to catch their prey. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

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

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

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 »

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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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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 »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Shorebirds Aren't Always 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 »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Project Puffin - Success with Seabirds

Common Murres, like this one, disappeared from the coast of Maine in the 1880s, after years of being hunted. Since 1992, Dr. Steve Kress has been trying to coax the birds to nest there again. And the murres are coming back. In June, 2009, a pair of Common Murres nested on Matinicus Rock. It was... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Puffins - Clowns of the Sea

Puffins are icons of the seabird world. With clown-like faces and huge, multicolored bills, they stand upright on sea cliffs along the northern oceans. Tufted Puffins nest on islands and rough coastlines, from the Channel Islands of Southern California across the north Pacific to Siberia. The... read more »

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