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Thick-billed Euphonia - Deceitful Mimic

Northern Mockingbirds can learn to mimic the sounds of just about any bird. They mimic to show off, not to deceive. But this Thick-billed Euphonia, a tiny songbird in South America, employs what scientists call “deceitful mimicry.” When frightened by a predator near its nest, a Thick-billed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, ornithology

Parrots and Falcons — Long-lost Cousins

Discovering the Tree of LifeDid you ever play with seashells? Get yourself a whole bucket full of 'em, and then try to sort them out? The big, chalky, thick-shelled ones here, the delicate, pastel-colored ones there. A new pile for the swirly-shaped ones…As we try to make sense of the beautiful,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, science

Jacana - Lily-trotter

The strange wading birds known as jacanas are nick-named "lily-trotters" for their ability to walk on lilypads. In Jamaica, they're known as "Jesus birds," because they appear to be walking on water — a feat made possible by their long toes. But that's not all that's cool about jacanas.... read more »

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The Oilbird's Lightless life

Nature has produced some exceptionally odd and unique animals. One such creature is the Oilbird of northern South America. The Oilbird prefers a diet of wild berries and fruits, especially lipid-rich fruits like palm nuts and avocados (which leads to fatty young and the Oilbird's name). ... read more »

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Not Just Any Nectar Will Do

Hummingbirds such as this Buff-tailed Sicklebill specialize in nectar feeding. But other species of birds, less specialized to nectar, also visit flowers for a taste of the sweet stuff. The flowers they visit likely have a more open shape, with nectar more accessible to a non-specialist’s bill.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, ecology

BirdNote Trip to Cuba (Oct 19-26)

Cuba was the destination for BirdNote's first international trip in October 2015. I don't think we could've picked a better location. Nor could we have picked a better group of 18 participants.We had a well-balanced itinerary that exposed our group to the arts, food, culture, natural spaces, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

The Cuban Tody

The Cuban Tody is almost indescribably cute! It’s a "must-see" bird for anyone heading for the West Indies. In woodlands throughout the island of Cuba, todies are terrific foragers. In fact, their Puerto Rican cousins have been known to catch up to one or two insects a minute — hunting from dawn... read more »

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Climate Change Is Pushing Tropical Birds Off the Mountaintop

In New Guinea in the 1960s, scientist Jared Diamond documented birds like this Mountain Kingfisher living at all elevations on Mount Karamui. Today, scientists Ben and Alexa Freeman have documented an important change. Birds are moving “upslope” to escape warming temperatures that are disrupting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Costa Rica - The Land Is Pulsing with Life

It’s early morning in Costa Rica. Tiny bats nestle in a tree after a night on the wing. A Great Kiskadee calls. Gray-capped Flycatchers sally forth from willow-like shrubs to catch insects in mid-air. White Ibis forage at the water's edge. Deep in a thicket, Black-hooded Antshrikes call. By noon,... read more »

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