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reflection

Turkey Vulture, A Poem

Vultures are an avian clean-up crew, removing carrion from the landscape. When Turkey Vultures circle low, you can see their naked red heads and deeply slotted black primary feathers. With their wings canted in a dihedral "V," they tilt upwind from side to side. The Turkey Vulture's keen sense of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Seabirds in Decline

Scoter populations in South Puget Sound have declined by 69% since 1995. Other seabirds -- like this Barrow's Goldeneye -- have not fared well, either. Suspects include heavy metal contamination, a drop in herring populations, derelict fishing gear, and the destruction of shoreline habitat.Find... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Trumpeter Swans - Knowledge Bringers

With up to nine-foot wingspans, Trumpeter Swans are the world's largest water birds. Watching them in flight brings us into the presence of what the poet Rilke called "a more powerful reality - rising and circling, poised but wild." But they came close to disappearing. Through the love, care, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, reflection

Skylark - With Aretha Franklin

Imagine: Singing for three minutes while soaring to 100 feet in the air, like the Skylark. None of the native birds of North America has such a long song or sings so persistently in flight. Around 1902, Skylarks were brought from England to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to satisfy the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, reflection

To a Green Leaf, by Victor Scheffer

Dr. Victor Scheffer, biologist and BirdNote adviser, died this past September, at the age of 104. At the age of 100 he wrote a reflection, To a Green Leaf (abbreviated here). - "With the coming of frost and the long nights, you will die and fall to the ground. Your rusty brown remains will be... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Winter Field Notes - Reflections by Heather Murphy

Heather Murphy, a naturalist, watches for birds with the trained eye of a wildlife biologist, then makes a few field notes. From her journal: "I hear tzeet-tzeet-tzeet. Fast movement. Ah, a tiny kinglet. Which kinglet? Hm.m.m. No leaves anymore, so I easily see an olive-green back. And through my... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Bird of the Year, From Lyanda Haupt

Many birders play a New Year's game called "Bird of the Year." The first bird you see on January 1st becomes your theme bird for that year—one to bless your perspective, your imagination, your spirit. Author Lyanda Haupt was at first disappointed with her "bird of the year," a European Starling.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

Time Changes All Things

Not that long ago, Passenger Pigeons filled the skies. Some flocks, with more than a billion birds, took four days to pass overhead. Aldo Leopold called the pigeon "a biological storm." Now they are extinct, gone forever from our world. But other birds remain! This spring, go out and delight in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

A Swirl of Snow Geese

Snow Geese nest from far northeastern Russia to Greenland, in the arctic and subarctic. They winter in large flocks on the deltas of rivers in northwestern Washington, areas along the Eastern Seaboard, and throughout the Mississippi Flyway. Watching Snow Geese in flight, Barry Lopez described... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

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