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grassland

Landowners Help Endangered Sage-Grouse

When it comes to saving endangered species, habitat is nearly always critical. For this Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird now endangered in parts of its range, it comes down to preserving stands of healthy sagebrush. And essential to saving sage habitat is the cooperation of landowners. Recently, Rob... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Aplomado Falcon

Aplomado Falcons were once widespread residents of the American Southwest, but by the 1950s, they'd disappeared entirely from the region. Loss of habitat, loss of prey, and pesticides all played a role. But in the 1980s, a group called The Peregrine Fund began breeding captive Aplomado Falcons.... read more »

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The Elegant Black Tern

Elegant Black Terns breed in summer on secluded wetlands across the northern states and Canada. Because of major losses of wetlands in their breeding range — especially in Canada's prairie provinces — Black Tern numbers have dropped dramatically since the 1960s. The future of this beautiful bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, ornithology

Connectivity

Migratory birds connect the Northern Plains with many parts of the Western Hemisphere. Barn and Cliff Swallows, McCown's Longspurs, this Lark Bunting, and many other birds winter from Central to southern South America. But their reproduction depends on the bounty of the prairie spring. Disrupting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Bobolinks and Grasslands

Male Bobolinks are first to arrive on their breeding grounds in the grasslands. Why are there fewer Bobolinks than in decades past? Probably because the landscape of North America has changed so much. Bobolinks originally nested on native prairies of the Midwest and southern Canada. Much of the... read more »

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Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

The Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his farm in the 1940s. In his Sand County Almanac, a classic of conservation and nature writing, Leopold brought to life scenes of nature, a month at a time. Field Sparrows aren't as common today as they were in Aldo Leopold's day... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

A male Buff-breasted Sandpiper courts a female on their breeding grounds far north of the Arctic Circle. He raises his wings, flashing their silvery-white undersides, as he sings his clicking serenade. These birds spend much of the year on grasslands in Argentina, migrating to the Arctic in late... read more »

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Sage Sparrows Return

A chill wind ruffles the feathers of a male Sagebrush Sparrow (formerly known as the Sage Sparrow), as he sings atop a tall sagebrush. It is late February, a few miles from the Columbia River in Central Washington. Sagebrush Sparrows are arriving north from wintering in the Southwestern deserts.... 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

Greater Prairie-Chicken

The evocative, booming voices of male Greater Prairie-Chickens displaying at dawn were once heard throughout the American Midwest. On its courtship lek, the male bird puffs out the great orange air-sacs at the side of its neck. He erects and flares his tail. His wings droop, but the neck tufts... read more »

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