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tropical

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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Purple Martins Head South to the Amazon

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow that nests in the US and Canada. It’s also one of our most beloved birds, judging by how many people put up nest boxes for them! During fall, Purple Martins from western North America migrate to a distinct wintering area in southeastern Brazil — a travel... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

OTS Facilitates Research

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) operates three field research stations in Costa Rica: one in a very wet forest on the Atlantic coastal plain; another near the Pacific Ocean where there’s a long dry season; and the third, near Panama at mid-elevation. Dr. Gordon Orians, a past... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Waking to Howler Monkeys - With Roger Melendez

Dawn breaks in Costa Rica. As in many places around the world, people wake to the crowing of roosters . . . or in Costa Rica, it might be howler monkeys! Costa Rican birding guide Roger Melendez says that the male wants to know… “Is everybody awake? Is everybody listenin' to what I’m... read more »

Hakalau Forest National Refuge - With Jack Jeffrey

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1985 to protect endangered birds and their rainforest habitat. Only about 25% of old-growth forests remain on the Big Island of Hawaii, and people like Jack Jeffrey have been working to protect and restore them. 60-70% of the plants in Hawaii... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, environmental champion

Alexa Freeman and the Birds of Papua New Guinea

Tropical biologists Alexandra and Ben Freeman are in Papua New Guinea, documenting the effects of a warming climate on birds that live on the slopes of a remote mountain. Birds like this King of Saxony Bird of Paradise. Often, their research puts them in touch with unexpected beauty, especially... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, ornithology, science

Ben and Alexa Freeman - In Jared Diamond's Footsteps

In the remote Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea, tropical biologists Ben and Alexandra Freeman are inventorying birds on Mount Karimui. The Freemans want to know which birds are living where, and why -- birds like the Raggiana Bird of Paradise and the King of Saxony Bird of Paradise. By... read more »

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Manakins Make Their Own Fireworks

The White-bearded Manakin lives in Trinidad and throughout much of South America. The males court females by snapping their wings with firecracker-like pops. A flurry of males flits rapidly back and forth from one slender, bare sapling to another, a foot above the ground. When the male spots the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Trogons Nest with Wasps

The "Violaceous" Trogon (recently split into three species), which nests in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, often excavates its dwelling within a large, active wasp or termite nest. It begins by devouring some of the insects, then digs a cavity large enough to accommodate the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Cerulean Warblers Link Conservation on Two Continents

In winter, the Cerulean Warbler forages in tree-tops of the Andes Mountains. In May, at the other end of a 2,500-mile migration, the very same bird sings from the tree-tops in the Appalachian Mountains. The Cerulean Warbler is one of the most threatened birds in the US. American Bird Conservancy... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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