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open water

Long-tailed Duck: Little Known Duck of Many Secrets!

The Long-tailed Duck is not widely known outside birdwatching circles. But what a wonderful duck it is. Found only locally at certain times of the year, and with an oddly goofy, human-like voice, the otherwise elegant Long-tailed Duck has some interesting departures from "normal" duck biology... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Diving Birds – Below the Surface

By December, an array of diving birds that nested at far northern latitudes are wintering on temperate waters across the continent. If we could watch them under water, we'd see this Common Loon racing like a torpedo. A goldeneye dives under water and swims about 10 feet from the surface, while... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

What Is a Seahawk?

The first Seattle Seahawk to storm the field during home games isn’t the head coach or the quarterback -- it isn’t even human. It’s Taima, a captive-bred Augur Hawk that has accompanied the team before every home game since 2007.She is a beautiful representative of a species from the aridlands of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, sports

Pelicans Go Fishing

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

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Northern Shovelers Pinwheeling

The Northern Shoveler's oversized, spoon-shaped bill helps it stand out in even the most crowded pond. And while it doesn't actually use its bill to shovel, the Northern Shoveler skims tiny plants and animals off the water's surface and filters out the edibles with the help of tiny comb-like... read more »

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Scaup Disappear

Twenty-five years ago, there were twice as many scaup in North America as there are today. Starting in 1986, non-native zebra mussels spread rapidly throughout the Great Lakes. And scaup love to eat them. However, zebra mussels and other shellfish accumulate contaminants, including selenium, from... read more »

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American Coots

American Coots settle onto lakes and estuaries, forming rafts of hundreds, even thousands, of birds. They like to feed on aquatic vegetation, and sometimes they lumber ashore to nibble at grasses and agricultural crops. The coot's lobed toes help it swim and maneuver under water. To get airborne,... read more »

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