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Winter

Cedar Waxwing Eating Berries

Photographer Gregg Thompson provided these photos of a Cedar Waxwing enjoying a wintertime meal in Magnuson Park in northwestern Washington State.Now to get that berry stem in the right position...A successful snack!Another look at that unique wing-tip wax:All photos © Gregg ThompsonListen to a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

Birding in Norway - 70 Degrees North

Wim Vader, a birder of many years, writes about the birds he's seen in Tromsø, Norway, in 2017:                    4 January — Here at 70°N, we have had almost too much weather. December was warmer than... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

A Raven, On Snow

Regular photo contributor, Gregg Thompson, visited Mount Rainier in Washington State, hoping to find White-tailed Ptarmigan in their pure-white winter plumage. He didn't find any. Actually, the first bird he saw –- and only when he returned to the parking lot -- was this Common Raven. But the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

Burrowing Snowbirds

Light, fluffy snow can be up to 90% trapped air — just the thing to keep birds and other animals warm. Ptarmigan spend winter nights in cozy caves they excavate in snow. During truly harsh weather, they will hunker down in their caves through the short arctic day, too. Common Redpolls break... read more »

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Pileated Woodpecker roosting holes

Photographer Gregg Thompson had a stroke of good fortune. He writes:In late September, I noticed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers on this tree trunk. It was too late in the year for them to have any chicks, and after I read a bit, I decided this was a roosting tree. It could have been a nesting... read more »

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Chickadee Brains Are Bigger in the Cold

As the colder months arrive, birds that remain in northern climates face the harsh realities of staying warm and finding food. Some birds approach the food problem by storing it in advance — a behavior called caching. Chickadees, nuthatches, jays, and some woodpeckers are known to cache large... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Singer's Brain Changes with the Seasons

In higher animals, the brain is like a BMW — amazing engineering, but expensive to run. In a human, the brain uses about 10 times more energy than other organs. A bird's system is exquisitely attuned to this expense. Several species, including Black-capped Chickadees, have adapted in a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science, vocalization

February Summer in Argentina

In February, winter still holds sway over much of North America. But in Argentina, it’s summer, and birds are in full voice. Argentina’s national bird, the Rufous Hornero, belts out a rapid trill while the Rufous-bellied Thrush sings its lovely song. In the tropical forests of northeastern... read more »

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Diving Birds – Below the Surface

By December, an array of diving birds that nested at far northern latitudes are wintering on temperate waters across the continent. If we could watch them under water, we'd see this Common Loon racing like a torpedo. A goldeneye dives under water and swims about 10 feet from the surface, while... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Why Some Birds Sing in the Winter

By late January, some resident birds, such as the Northern Mockingbird, are beginning their spring singing. When you step outside on a particularly sunny day this winter, a Fox Sparrow like the one pictured here may be warming up for the coming spring. And as far north as British Columbia,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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