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migration

A Rufous in the Rain

In a garden near the McKenzie River in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, a downpour pummels the landscape. Imagine a Rufous Hummingbird, like this male, out and about, extracting nectar, searching for gnats and aphids. A hummingbird's stamina against the heavy rain is marvelous. Consider this: its body... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Savor the Sight of Migrating Birds

In the United States and Canada, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is celebrated in May. Justin Pepper of the Audubon Chicago Region shares his insights about this special time of year, when birds like this Blackburnian Warbler are on the move. “It’s awe inspiring to realize that our... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, migration

Migration Routes Evolve

Why do birds consistently follow certain routes in their migrations? Pathways of migration evolved, shaped by the wind. During the height of the last ice age, ice-free breeding habitat for songbirds remained in what is now Alaska and parts of Western Canada. Studies of fossil pollen show that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

National Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is birdy at any time of year. But in winter, this mixture of cypress swamp and pineland comes alive with migratory songbirds. On a warm, sunny morning, birds are active all around, from the tops of the tall cypresses to the shrubs along the boardwalk.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Blackpoll Warbler Migration

Blackpoll Warblers make the longest migration of any North American songbird, an annual round trip of eleven to twelve thousand miles. In August, the warblers leave Western Alaska and head east across Canada to the Maritime Provinces and the coast of New England. Then, the tiny songbirds fly over... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper - With Gerrit Vyn

Gerrit Vyn of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recorded the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in the far northeast of Russia, where as few as 100 remaining pairs breed each summer. This sandpiper depends on key coastal wetlands near the Yellow Sea to fuel the long-distance migration to its wintering areas.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, migration, nesting

Sandhill Cranes Wait Out the Storm

At the fall equinox, gillnetter Misha Noonan would often get stuck at the far east end of the Copper River Delta, waiting out the storms. Once the storms were so unrelenting, that not only were fishermen unable to return to Cordova, but Sandhill Cranes were unable to proceed with their southeast... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Pungent Mudflat

On the shore of a saltwater bay, the tide goes out, revealing a broad expanse of dark, glistening mudflat. Mudflats are rich in nutrients, such as decomposing organic matter and minerals. Far from wastelands, mudflats also support a bounty of life including vast quantities of tiny snails and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Tracking Migrating Birds

Two-thirds of migrating birds fly at night, making it a challenge to track their movement. Dr. Andrew Farnsworth of Cornell is using a combination of bioacoustics and radar to learn when birds migrate and where they stop, feed, and rest. The acoustics tell what species are migrating at night and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Barn Swallows Travel South, Featuring Harry Fuller

Barn Swallows are heading south by now, many headed for South America. Birding guide Harry Fuller says: "Just think! You got this tiny little brain, smaller than a walnut, and you spend the summer in Oregon and you've got to go to Chile for the winter, 'cause you're a Barn Swallow, and you can do... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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