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Winter

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 »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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

A Chance to See Whooping Cranes - At Port Aransas

North America’s tallest bird, and one of its most endangered -- the Whooping Crane! There are fewer than 600 in the world even when you count the ones in captivity. They’ve rebounded from an all-time low of 15. The only wild migratory flock – about 275 – winters along the Texas Gulf Coast in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, festival

A Gyrfalcon Takes a Pigeon out of the Sky!

In late February, 2014, photographer Gregg Thompson visited a grain silo near Vancouver, British Columbia, where a Gyrfalcon has spent the winter. Actually, Gregg spent several days there, hoping to take a photo of this dashing predator as it catches one of the many pigeons that roost in the silo... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, photography

Bald Eagles - Falling from the Sky!

Gregg Thompson recently photographed a pair of Bald Eagles tangling talons in a rural area outside Seattle. In an act of aggression, the eagles fly high up in the air, lock talons, and spin toward earth, releasing one another just before they hit the ground. If you think this is dizzying,... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  flight

61 Tons of Robins!

In winter, flocks of American Robins spend the night together. Typically, a few dozen to a few hundred birds roost communally in trees or an old barn, or under a bridge. But larger robin roosts can number in the thousands, or even tens of thousands! In 2007, observers near St. Petersburg, Florida... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, science

Yellow-rumped Warbler - The Winter Warbler

By winter, most warblers have migrated south. But the Yellow-rumped Warbler, which birders affectionately call “butterbutt” is a lesson in adaptation, notes Bryan Pfeiffer, a writer, naturalist, and educator who lives in Vermont. “In winter, when most of their kin are enjoying insects in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, ornithology

Bohemian Waxwings Wander South

In winter, when snow blankets the northern states, nearly all of the songbirds that graced the days of summer are gone. But there’s one special winter visitor that fills the absence: the Bohemian Waxwing. In autumn, waxwings wander south from the boreal forest into the northern states and along... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

Christmas Bird Counts at the Extremes

This winter, volunteers will tally birds in more than 2,000 locations as part of the annual Christmas Bird Count. In the U.S., birders will venture forth at the very extremes of the country’s geographic reach. At Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, a few hardy souls will count birds in deep twilight, since the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  citizen science

Northern Forest Owls - Coming South this Winter?

Of all the surprises that winter might bring, among the most wonderful would be a grand influx of northern forest owls like this Boreal Owl. Every few years, a surprising number of owls move south from the boreal forest of Canada and Alaska into the northern tier of the United States, especially... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

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