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Female Anna's Hummingbird Preening

Living year round along the Pacific Coast of the US and into the Southwest, Anna's Hummingbirds are territorial, feisty little favorites at backyard feeders. This female was photographed perched and preening by Mike Hamilton.Check out these BirdNote shows about Anna's Hummingbirds:Who Was Anna... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography, plumage

Songbirds: The Large and Small of It

The group of birds called “songbirds” — the perching birds — is incredibly broad. Half the world’s 10,000 birds are in the songbird group, and their range of body sizes is mind-boggling. One of the smallest songbirds in North America is the Golden-crowned Kinglet, barely larger than a hummingbird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, ornithology

The World’s Most Abundant Bird

An estimated 1.5 billion Red-billed Quelea live in Africa today, making them the most abundant of all wild birds. The sparrow-sized Red-billed Quelea flock together in groups so large, from a distance they appear to be clouds of smoke. Red-billed Quelea are in the weaver family and create tens of... read more »

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Stowaway Cockatoo Takes a Cruise

A beautiful Rose-breasted Cockatoo named Harri took the adventure of a lifetime. She set off unseen on a cruise ship from Brisbane, Australia, and wasn’t discovered until the ship neared New Zealand. Authorities there were not happy to see Harri, whose species is the bane of farmers in her native... read more »

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Using the Merlin Bird ID App

The Merlin Bird ID smartphone app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a free, easy way to help you identify new birds. The app asks a series of simple questions and offers a list of possible birds, along with photos and sounds, to help your identification. The app draws from millions of bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

The Secret Lives of Goldfinches

American Goldfinches are one of our most familiar birds, but they lead lives that are anything but ordinary. These birds will sometimes raise two broods a year, have a secret weapon against cowbirds, and have the ability to distinguish between songs that — to our ears — sound the same. Backyard... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

Rachel Carson’s Muse

Rachel Carson found inspiration in the work of 19th-century writer Richard Jefferies, whose work helped Carson develop her deep sense of connection with the natural world. Jefferies wrote: "Consider the grasses and the oaks, the swallows, the sweet blue butterfly — they are one and all a sign and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Scintillating Starlings

In Africa, where there are dozens of starling species, a quick look reveals a variety of visual stunners. Some of the names hint at their dazzle: Superb Starling, as well as Golden-breasted, Emerald, Purple, Violet-backed, and Splendid Glossy Starlings. Starlings sparkle because they have special... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

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