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wetland

The Marsh Wren

Some bird-lovers have tagged the Marsh Wren the "Heinz 57 variety" bird, because scientists have recorded 57 different variations of its song. And nightfall doesn't faze these birds. A male may sing straight through the night. Marsh Wrens usually forage out of view, hopping up only for brief... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Conserving Wetlands for Black Rails

Black Rails are marsh-inhabiting birds, more often heard than seen. Many Black Rails nest in marshes along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Midwest. But in winter they concentrate in the coastal marshes of East Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, areas that face many threats. US populations of Black... read more »

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The Elegant Black Tern

Elegant Black Terns breed in summer on secluded wetlands across the northern states and Canada. Because of major losses of wetlands in their breeding range — especially in Canada's prairie provinces — Black Tern numbers have dropped dramatically since the 1960s. The future of this beautiful bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, ornithology

Franklin's Gull - The Half-time Seagull

Gulls are often called "seagulls," but many spend a lot of time far away from the sea. The Franklin's Gull breeds in freshwater wetlands more than 5,000 miles from its winter home at the ocean. After the breeding season, they ascend high in the sky for their long flight across the Equator to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Feeding Frenzy

It's late winter at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida. Many birds have finished nesting, and young birds are everywhere. This morning, wind and tide have conspired to strand schools of fish in backwater ditches. And the birds are taking advantage of it. It's a... read more »

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Red-winged Blackbird Harem

As spring begins, the male Red-winged Blackbird brandishes his red epaulets to warn other males away from his patch of cattails. At the same time, he sings to lure females into his marsh...many females, in fact. One male may attract up to a dozen females. The male is dressed for defending his... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Some of My Best Friends Are Salt Marshes

Riding the train west to New Haven or New York, you pass salt marshes with old and evocative names like The Saw Pit, Great Harbor, and Old Quarry. Watch for marsh birds — yellowlegs, sandpipers, Snowy Egrets. In the fall, you may find Northern Pintails, teal, and Black Ducks, like this one. We... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Northern Waterthrush

Despite its name, the Northern Waterthrush is really not a thrush: it's a warbler. But unlike most warblers, waterthrushes feed on the ground. They winter in the tropics, where they frequent the edges of ponds and mangrove swamps. Where might you find a Northern Waterthrush? Find out at Cornell's... read more »

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

The United States is home to more than 550 National Wildlife Refuges - havens for wildlife, including this Canvasback. But only one refuge can claim the distinction of being international: the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. It hosts millions of migratory ducks annually... read more »

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Klamath Bird Observatory

The Klamath Bird Observatory in southern Oregon uses rigorous methods to understand bird migrations and populations. At sunrise, observers record every single bird they see or hear. They record courtship displays and whether the bird is carrying food or nesting material, or singing to stake out a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science

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