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Travel with BirdNote to Big Bend National Park

It was a great trip! BirdNote and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours at Big Bend National Park, Cibolo Creek, and the Davis Mountains, August 24 - September 2, 2017You heard about Big Bend National Park from Alex Chadwick. (Check out those stories here.) More species of birds have been found in Big Bend... read more »

Elf Owl

By late February or March, Elf Owls depart Mexico to breed in the US. These miniscule owls weigh less than an ounce and a half — a bit less than a golf ball. During the breeding season, Elf Owls live in woodlands and desert cactus habitats from southwest Texas into southern Arizona. And they’re... read more »

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The Cactus Wren's Signature Voice

Most wrens in North America are small, furtive birds that stay deep in the vegetation. But the Cactus Wren is large, bold, and brassy. These wrens are well adapted to the desert and can get all the moisture they need from their food. Cactus Wren nests are a regular sight in their range of dry... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Vermilion Flycatcher

What’s the reddest bird in North America? In the East, the Scarlet Tanager or maybe the Summer Tanager. But neither is seen nearly as often as the Northern Cardinal. In the Southwest, another candidate pops out like a bright red flare on the tip of a branch: the Vermilion Flycatcher. This dashing... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Eoornis - A Bird of the Gobi Desert

The critically endangered Eoörnis of the Gobi Desert was first described in scientific literature in the late 1920s. This bird is known informally as the Woofen-poof — because of the sound it makes when it takes off from the desert sand. It is easily recognized in flight by its semi... read more »

Sandgrouse - Desert Water-carriers

Sandgrouse live in some of the most parched environments on earth. To satisfy the thirst of their chicks, male sandgrouse carry water back to the nest in a surprising but effective way: by carrying it in their feathers. Thanks to coiled hairlike extensions on the feathers of the underparts, a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

The Benefits of a Raven's Black Feathers

The desert seems an unlikely habitat choice for all-black birds. But ravens thrive even in the arid Southwest, where common sense suggests that light-colored feathers would be a better adaptation to the scorching sun. As it turns out, a raven’s black plumage works well in the desert.  read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, plumage

Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: An Oasis for Birds

Carolyn Ohl-Johnson found a home — and a way of life — near Big Bend National Park. BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited Carolyn at the desert oasis she created for birds such as this Magnificent Hummingbird. But her accomplishment has required tremendous sacrifice. “I haven’t seen my great... read more »

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Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: Banding Hummingbirds

BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited the outskirts of Big Bend National Park in Texas to meet with Kelly Bryan, a retired park manager and biologist who spends his days placing tiny bands on hummingbirds to better know their habits. Kelly has banded more than 14,000 birds!Funding for the... read more »

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Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: The Roadrunner

In the Looney Tunes cartoon, the Road Runner is potential prey for Wile E. Coyote. But in the real world, the Greater Roadrunner is an excellent predator. BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited Mark Flippo, a retired park ranger at Big Bend National Park, to learn more about the behavior of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

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