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ecology

Seabirds Converge from the Ends of the Earth

Off the coast of North Carolina, at the edge of North America’s continental shelf, the seafloor drops more than 12,000 feet. Seabird researcher Tom Johnson says the nutrient-rich waters of this area nurture a wealth of squid and small fish, attracting seabirds such as these Wilson’s Storm-Petrels... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Monitoring Rhinoceros Auklets on Protection Island

The nesting colony of Rhinoceros Auklets on Washington State’s Protection Island is among the largest in the world. The birds’ breeding success reflects the health of surrounding marine waters. Scientists are monitoring the type, number, and food value of the fish the adults provide. And to find... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, science

From Egg-laying to Hatching and Beyond

Waterfowl like this Muscovy duckling spend up to 30 days in the egg, so they’re able to walk, swim, and feed themselves as soon as they hatch. We call these chicks precocial. By contrast, the chicks of most songbirds spend less time maturing in the egg. They must continue to develop in the nest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, ornithology

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

The Music of Herring Gulls

For some of us, it’s hard to get excited about gulls. But they are just as fascinating – and have as much to tell us – as other birds. Take the Herring Gull, for example. Its appearance is striking, and its voice is unforgettable. Along the Atlantic coast of North America, the nesting population... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Why the Black Skimmer Skims

That’s not a distant dog barking. It’s a Black Skimmer in flight, at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. This striking, black-and-white bird with a red bill and red feet has a most unusual way of feeding. It flies low along the surface of the water with its beak open. Closely... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, ornithology, plumage

Golden Eagle - The Other Eagle

The Bald Eagle stands proud as our national bird, spreads its wings on our national emblem, and serves as mascot of countless sports teams. So prominent is this iconic bird in our culture that we sometimes overlook a second, equally majestic eagle: the Golden Eagle. While Bald Eagles are confined... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, myth

Long-distance Migration - A House of Cards?

Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind, says “. . . the longest, most amazing, most awe-inspiring migrations are the ones that are most delicately balanced. And if you perturb any of the supports on which it depends, the whole thing collapses like a house of cards.” Fortunately, the U.S.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration

Winter Sounds of the Lower Rio Grande

In the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the Rio Grande River borders Mexico, birds commonly found in Central America reach their northern-most range. Here you can find fascinating birds like this Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, a tiny flycatcher with a long name! You’ll also see colorful... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, sound

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

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