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migration

Vaux's Swift Roost in Monroe

In late summer and early fall, migrating Vaux's Swifts seek nighttime shelter in chimneys in the West, Chimney Swifts in the East. A gathering of swifts waits until dusk to descend into a chimney. The swifts enter in a continuous swirl. Each swift drops into the opening with wings raised, feet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Salmonberry Bird

The native names of birds sometimes distill the essence of their appearance or behavior. In the Cherokee language, for instance, the Meadowlark is called "star," because of the way the bird's tail spreads out when it soars. To the Northwest Coastal people, this Swainson's Thrush is known as the ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Where Swallows Go in Winter

Through all of spring and summer, swallows dart and sail overhead, their airborne grace a wonder to behold. But by October, the skies seem empty. Most swallows have flown south, in search of insects. The eight species of swallows that nest in the US - including this Cliff Swallow - migrate south... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Swans Come Calling

Trumpeter Swans land in a plowed field to forage for remnant potatoes, grain, and other waste crops. This swan is among the largest of all waterfowl; the Tundra Swan is somewhat smaller. These swans migrate in family groups each fall from nesting sites in Canada and Alaska. Learn more about these... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Swallows Return to Nest

Each spring, eight species of swallows — including this Barn Swallow — migrate north from the tropics to nest in North America. Tree Swallows and Purple Martins are especially dependent on man-made nestboxes. Tree Swallows nest over much of the continent, while Purple Martins are most prevalent... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Tree Swallows March North

Every March sees the annual spring migration of Tree Swallows. The swallows spend the winter along the Caribbean, in Central America, and in the warmest parts of South Texas and California. Some will nest as far north as northern Alaska and Canada. Tree Swallows nest only in cavities, such as old... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, migration

Tune Up Your Ears - East

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

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Swallows and Mud - A Myth?

The swallows that make mud nests in spring and catch flying insects all summer are now far south in Mexico, and Central and South America. It's only as recently as the end of the nineteenth century that ornithologists agreed that swallows, including this Cliff Swallow, migrate. Many formerly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, myth

Tanagers - Coffee Birds

This Scarlet Tanager (R), its cousin the Western Tanager (L), and your latte have a connection. Much of the birds' prime wintering habitat has been turned into coffee plantations. When shade-giving trees are cut down to grow coffee in direct sunlight, the tanagers' winter habitat is also removed.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Tree Swallow Roost

As the sun sets over the Connecticut River, as many as 300,000 Tree Swallows gather on the wing in one huge, tightly choreographed flock. With dusk at hand, the aerobatic flock - now shaped like a tornado - swoops down into the tall reeds. It takes but 15 seconds for the 300,000 birds to vanish... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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