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wetland

Peatlands - Maine's Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge

The habitats that comprise Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge in central Maine — including peat bogs, streamside meadows, shrub thickets, cedar swamps, and maple forests — are rich with bird life, like this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. You’ll also find Bobolinks and more than 20 kinds of warblers during the... read more »

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Pied-Billed Grebe Nest Construction

The call of the Pied-billed Grebe is unusual. Their nests are unusual too – little platforms of plant material that float on water, hidden behind vegetation. Martin Muller, an expert who loves unraveling the mysteries of Pied-billed Grebes, explains how grebe parents like this one build their nests. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival

Don’t let the name fool you -- the Great Dismal Swamp is alive with birds! Particularly at this time of year, lucky visitors will find newly arrived Neotropical migrants. In conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge will host its sixth... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  festival

Voices and Vocabularies - The Basics

Birds’ voices invite us to step into nature and learn more about the singers. Hearing what’s distinctive in one bird’s voice — compared to another — helps us identify our avian neighbors without seeing them. Amazing!  The differences between the songs of three marsh-dwellers: the brassy... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

California Clapper Rail Study by the USGS

Book researcher, freelance writer, and photographer Ingrid Taylar was on hand in January 2009, when a US Geological Survey team from the Western Ecological Research Center arrived to band and radio-tag the remaining thousand or so California Clapper Rails in the Bay Area. Here's her story. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Ridgway's Rails on San Francisco Bay

Once abundant around San Francisco Bay, the Ridgway’s Rail — formerly known as the California Clapper Rail — is now endangered. In the 19th Century, unregulated hunting plundered the species. In the 20th Century, rampant development reduced salt marsh habitat by 85%. But in the 21st Century, the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

National Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is birdy at any time of year. But in winter, this mixture of cypress swamp and pineland comes alive with migratory songbirds. On a warm, sunny morning, birds are active all around, from the tops of the tall cypresses to the shrubs along the boardwalk.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Salt Pond Restoration in San Francisco Bay

Thousands of acres of south San Francisco Bay that lay under industrial salt ponds for over a century are now being restored to native tidal marsh. The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project has acquired almost 24 square miles that salt producers had diked along the bay's tidal margin. The... read more »

Arctic Terns Select their Mates at Potter Marsh

Did food play a role in your courtship? Well, Arctic Terns share a food-related ritual. Early in the breeding season, a female Arctic Tern perches near a possible nesting site. The male appears carrying a small fish in its bill. The female pauses for a few minutes to “check him out” before she... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

A Drive Along on a Bar Ditch

In the rural Southeast, roadside ditches – known as “bar ditches” – carry on for miles. They’re full of water and full of life, these narrow wetlands. Herons stalk the shallow water, stabbing at minnows. Common Gallinules, like this one, swim on the surface. Reeds and bulrushes provide cover for... read more »

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