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human interaction

House Sparrows Can Open Doors

House Sparrows are ingenious birds that have learned a highly specialized skill: how to open automatic doors. House Sparrows have been seen activating electric-eye sensors to fly into restaurants, supermarkets, and home supply stores.What will they be up to next? read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Saving Chimneys for Vaux's Swifts

Vaux’s Swifts are perfectly adapted to lives spent in the air. They mate on the wing, and their feet and legs are so small they can’t even walk. But they can hang. So at dusk they collect along the inner walls of giant chimneys, at places like Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, migration

Birds and Robots

One of the things airplane pilots worry about most is birds colliding with their planes, possibly causing an accident. Preventing bird strikes is a serious concern. Many airports resort to killing birds that might pose a threat. But the airport in Edmonton, Alberta, has found a more humane... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

The Roost That Saved a Refuge

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge was once where some of the country’s dirtiest weapons were produced, like mustard and sarin gas and napalm. The discovery of roosting Bald Eagles in the 1980s helped change the course of this prairie landscape. It started a process of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

A Tale of Hummingbird Etiquette

Artist and writer Beth Surdut listens to ravens and has paddled with alligators in wild and scenic places. She also knows about proper etiquette when encountering the smallest, fastest bird in the desert...This story starts with bird droppings. But before I go any further, if you have a penny and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, reflection

Purple Martins Change Their Habits

While Purple Martins west of the Rockies will happily nest in an old woodpecker hole, Purple Martins east of the Rockies rarely nest in natural cavities. Instead, they nest in birdhouses provided by humans. They depend on people to a huge extent and thrive close by their homes. People, in turn,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, nesting

Hummingbird Feeder Homebrew

The familiar components of a hummingbird feeder include a bottle, sugar water, and something red to attract the birds. (But not the water, please! Food coloring can be harmful to hummers. Here's a healthy recipe.) Feeding hummingbirds such as this Anna’s Hummingbird may seem like a recent... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, history, human interaction

Highways as Habitat for Hawks

In 1956, the Eisenhower Administration announced plans for the nation’s new interstate highway system. Planners foresaw 41,000 miles of superior highways, with a grassy border on either side and down the middle. The grassy areas created ribbons of wildlife habitat occupied by small mammals such... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, human interaction

Searching for the Araripe Manakin, With Gerrit Vyn

Gerrit Vyn is a sound recordist for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He recently traveled to northeastern Brazil’s Araripe Plateau in search of the Araripe Manakin, a beautiful white bird with dark wing-tips and tail-feathers — and a deep red hood. The Araripe Manakin is critically endangered, in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, photography, recording

Men Who Stay

BirdNote writer Todd Peterson reflects on his friend, a hunter, from Nebraska. Todd’s friend, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, has lost the urge to hunt. He sits in the duck blind, but he does not shoot . . . read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, reflection

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