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North

Common Merganser

The Common Merganser is one of our biggest ducks, about the size of some loons. Although it’s not closely related to loons, it has evolved a similar overall structure and predatory behavior. But a merganser has a unique feature: tooth-like serrations along the edge of the bill that help the bird... read more »

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Common Mergansers Pushed by the Ice

Around this time of year, Common Mergansers cross the US-Canadian border on their way to wintering grounds in the Lower 48. But how do they know when to go? Ducks are well insulated against frigid winter temperatures, but mergansers can find their fishy prey only by diving below the surface of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Protecting the World's Cranes

At one time, only 15 Whooping Cranes remained in the world. Today, the species remains endangered, but its population has increased to nearly 600 birds, thanks to conservation efforts. George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, explains how we can improve conditions for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

A Fascination with Cranes, With George Archibald

George Archibald has devoted his life to the conservation of cranes, including the Whooping Crane pictured here. His inspiration? At the age of eight, George heard a radio broadcast about Whooping Cranes at school. He says, “. . . it was this drama of a male and female crane who’d flown the... read more »

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Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Hermit Thrush: Ethereal Singer

High in the mountains of the West and North, where the long summer days stay cool, the song of the Hermit Thrush stands out. The song has been described as "ethereal," "serene," or "flutelike." Writer Ralph Hoffman writes about the song of the Hermit Thrush: "It is the opening note that gives the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization
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