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migration

The Lobstick Family of Whooping Cranes

The celebrities of the Whooping Crane world have to be the Lobstick family, named for the Lobstick marshes where they nest in Canada. The Lobstick male, at 33, is the oldest Whooping Crane in the wild whose age we know for certain. And Tom Stehn of the US Fish and Wildlife Service tells us the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Spring Brings New Bird Songs

All winter long, our neighborhood House Finches--like this one--have called to one another with their distinctive, sweet cheeps. And our resident Song Sparrows, with calls that sound like a tiny barking dog. But as the days grow longer in late winter, the lengthening light helps trigger a bird's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Operation Migration Update

Unlike many other birds that have an inherent sense of direction and destination, young Whooping Cranes have to learn their migration route from the adults. Enter Operation Migration and ultralight aircraft to lead the eastern population of cranes on their journey from Wisconsin to Florida!... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Probing with Sandpipers

The variety of bill sizes and shapes among the sandpipers is astounding! Many sandpipers have sensitive nerve receptors in their bill tips, so they can find unseen prey through touch, odor, and pressure changes. Those sandpipers with long, straight bills - like this Long-billed Dowitcher - are... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Shorebirds in Kansas - Oval Migration Pattern

Almost half of all migratory shorebirds nesting in North America migrate through the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in central Kansas. Almost all of the continent's Wilson's Phalaropes rest and refuel at the wetlands here. The birds fly a great oval route. In autumn, in the East, they head from... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Swainson's Hawks Migrate South

In autumn, hundreds of thousands of Swainson's Hawks migrate to South America. With the help of a satellite tracking device, let's follow an individual male. On September 14, he leaves his breeding territory near Hanna, Alberta; reaches southwest Saskatchewan by September 23; passes through... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Tune Up Your Ears - West

By March in the West, Song Sparrows and other songbirds that don't migrate are already singing heartily to attract mates. Many other birds - including this Warbling Vireo - will return north from the tropics in April and May, announcing themselves in song as soon as they arrive in nesting areas.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs

The Red Knot returns to the Delaware Bay each May to feed. These sandpipers are on their way to their nesting grounds in the northern Arctic and stop here to refuel - their stopover coincides with the spawning of horseshoe crabs. But beginning in the 1980s, vast numbers of the crabs were... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Habitat Restoration on the Gulf

The natural habitats of the Gulf Coast are critical to birds migrating between North, Central, and South America. With the BP oil spill, restoring Gulf-coast habitat has taken on new urgency. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program is restoring habitat and rejuvenating the maritime... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Mono Lake - Seeking a Balance

More than 1.5 million Eared Grebes, 30% of the North American population, gather at Mono Lake each fall. But as late as the 1990s, the lake was gravely threatened by the diversion of its water to Los Angeles. After years of court battles, Los Angeles, the lake's advocates, and concerned... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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