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Surf Scoters Stand Out

Surf Scoters are large colorful sea ducks. The male Surf Scoter’s huge red-orange bill with its white and black spots really stands out. It is a great tool for eating hard-shelled mollusks like clams and mussels. Surf Scoters spend the winter along the coastlines of North America. Look at the... read more »

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In Winter, Puffins Lead Very Different Lives

Every summer, puffins — like this Horned Puffin — grow blazingly colorful layers over the bases of their huge beaks. But in the winter, puffins lead very different lives, and they shed their bright ornamentation. Puffins in winter are largely solitary — and silent. They spend about seven months... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Long-lived Wisdom, the Albatross

A Laysan Albatross named Wisdom has been nesting and raising chicks on the island of Midway for nearly 60 years. She was banded back in 1956 and was rediscovered, still alive and healthy, in 2002. Since that time, scientists have watched Wisdom closely. Every year, she has managed to navigate the... read more »

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Gannets and Dolphins

Northern Gannets, fish-eating seabirds, dive headfirst into the ocean at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour, pursuing their prey. Sometimes, they get help. Dolphins herd fish into dense, frantic concentrations near the surface, while gannets take advantage and plunge into the shoals from aloft.... read more »

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Ancient Murrelet Migration

We're used to birds migrating north to south and south to north. But the Ancient Murrelet migrates east to west and back across the North Pacific. These plump seabirds nest in colonies in old-growth forests. But where do they go in winter? After breeding, many Ancient Murrelets migrate westward.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Auklet's Whiskers - Not Just for Show

In Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, thousands of Whiskered Auklets — miniature relatives of puffins and murres — nest in deep rock crevices. The birds owe their name to the white plumes that sprout from their heads each summer. These fancy “whiskers” likely play a role in courtship. But they're not... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Steller's Sea-Eagles

Wow, check out these Steller's Sea-Eagles spotted in the sea-ice off Hokkaido, Japan!Dory says: I took these photos from a fishing boat in the sea-ice off the port of Rausu,one of Japan’s World Heritage Sites. The port is on the Shiretoko Peninsula of Hokkaido,a mountainous region that attracts... read more »

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It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a ... fish?

My wife and I were on a whale-watching boat off Maui in May. I was on the side of the boat, scanning the horizon for birds. It was a pretty quiet day on the water bird-wise, just a White-tailed Tropicbird and Wedge-tailed Shearwater to keep me interested.My wife isn't a birdwatcher but she will... read more »

Northern Gannets Plunge-Dive

Just off the North Atlantic coast, hungry Northern Gannets are gathering to feed on fish. From 100 feet in the air, the gannets plummet head-first into the water at 60 miles per hour! Such high-speed collisions would knock most creatures out. But Gannets have evolved air sacs in both the neck and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology

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