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Chimney Swift Roost

Scores, perhaps hundreds, of Chimney Swifts whirl in a flock, then form a funnel-shaped cloud above a chimney. Now they begin to descend, first one - and finally hundreds - swirling down into the chimney. Each bird drops inside and catches onto the rough interior, where it will hang until morning... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Canada Geese - Migratory or Not

It's the time of year that geese migrate south for the winter. Isn't it? So why are there so many geese still hanging around, setting up housekeeping on our parks and golf courses? Did they decide to forgo the long trip north? In the early 1900s, a subspecies of non-migratory geese were imported... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Tracking Burrowing Owls

Helen Trefry, a wildlife biologist in Edmonton, Alberta, wanted to know where the Burrowing Owls in her part of Canada migrated to. How long did it take them to get to their destinations? Where and how did they spend their stopovers? An amateur radio operator from Texas, along with a network of... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Bobolink Migration

When Bobolinks return to North America from the tropics each spring, they have completed one of the longest migrations of any songbird in the Americas: roughly 6,000 miles-all the way from northern Argentina to the northern states and Canada. You can learn more about the Bobolink's migration in... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Eagles Do a Fall Walkabout

It's autumn. Where have all the eagles gone? Only a few weeks after young Bald Eagles fledge from their nests, the parents leave the area as well. Bald Eagles do a kind of "fall walkabout," leaving their nesting territories for better foraging areas. In winter, eagles gather by the hundreds along... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Black-bellied Plover, Arctic Nester

In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, June days offer almost continuous daylight to breeding birds, including this Black-bellied Plover. At this high latitude, Black-bellied Plovers can complete their breeding cycle in a month and a half. Not long after the summer solstice, the adults begin... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Juvenile Shorebirds Head South

Like most juvenile shorebirds, this young Black-bellied Plover was abandoned by parents that began their southbound flights from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks earlier. It will join other young Black-bellied Plovers as they make their way south. This little flock of birds could... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

The Real Story

Birds make their momentous journeys across the continents, navigating by ancient codes and intelligences. The equinoxes proceed to find their balance of day and night. As Rachel Carson wrote: "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, music, reflection

River of Birds - Arctic Tern

One of the world champions of long-distance migration is the Arctic Tern. Arctic Terns nest across the far northern reaches of the continent during our summer, then fly south to Antarctica for the rest of the year. Some will circle the polar ice-pack before heading north again, completing a total... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

October Migrants - Look Who's Back!

In the October sunlight, a Lincoln's Sparrow – like this one – sings energetically from a hedgerow. Soon a Fox Sparrow chimes in. Both nested in Alaska last summer but will spend the winter farther south. The Snow Geese are moving, too. A massive movement of birds takes place in the fall. The... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization