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Spring

Bird Rehabilitation at Willowbrook Center

At Willowbrook Wildlife Center in suburban Chicago, there’s hope for birds that have collided with skyscrapers during migration. Today, volunteers from Chicago Bird Collision Monitors have rescued and transported 28 injured or stunned birds to the wildlife center for rehabilitation. Many birds... read more »

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A Building Manager Shows the Way

Geoff Credi is the facilities manager for an impressive glass building in Chicago. In 2004, Credi learned about the devastating problem of birds colliding with glass. As a result, the building he manages became one of the first to participate in the Lights Out Chicago program, voluntarily turning... read more »

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A Virginia Rail on Michigan Avenue

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – with towering glass skyscrapers and fancy boutiques – is the last place you’d expect to see a bird that normally hides in freshwater marshes. Yet, during migration, secretive Virginia Rails like this one pass over the city at night. That is, until they hit a building... read more »

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Chicago Volunteers Rescue Birds

In many urban areas, collisions are the fate of hundreds of thousands of birds, like this Brown Creeper. But Annette Prince and volunteers with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors are making a difference. Every morning during spring and fall migration, Annette and her team rescue birds that have... read more »

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Voices and Vocabularies - Three Hidden Sparrows

Some birds have a remarkable knack for staying out of sight. Often we don’t know they’re nearby, until they sing. But with a little practice, we can learn to identify birds without seeing them. Listen to the songs of the Song Sparrow, the Chipping Sparrow, and the White-throated Sparrow — like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

A Series of Encounters

It's rather amusing to think about the summer solstice in the Pacific Northwest. Here in Seattle, we don't consider it summer until after the Fourth of July. Yet many of the breeding birds are done singing by then, having had at least one brood. Many of us have grown up with these strange,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Take Time to Observe Nature

Earth Day 2014! A spring day, and Mallards and wigeons muddle about, while male Red-winged Blackbirds court their harems. Friends gather to put up a greenhouse – like a barn-raising of old! A parade of chickens passes by. Everyone responds to the warmth of the sun. With the job done, we take a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Visiting a Sage-Grouse Lek

It was March, and some time before dawn, I was driving a van full of birders down a gravel backroad of Southeastern Oregon. The dirt track slid under us disconcertingly, like a thin layer of wet snow. When rain falls heavily on ground only half prepared for absorption, a sickly alluvium forms. We... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, breeding display, plumage, sound

Mark Twain and Tropicbirds

When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866, he was able to inspect a live volcano, Halema’uma’u, which he described as “a crimson cauldron.” Twain concluded his impressions of the hellish scene by writing, “The smell of sulfur is strong, but not unpleasant to a sinner.” That eruption came to an end... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Migration

Migration happens once every year. And then again maybe six months later.Depending on several factors, at most times of the year, there are many birds on the move. Some are merely altitudinal migrants, descending when the weather turns fowl in the mountains. The large majority undertake a twice... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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