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science

Monitoring Rhinoceros Auklets on Protection Island

The nesting colony of Rhinoceros Auklets on Washington State’s Protection Island is among the largest in the world. The birds’ breeding success reflects the health of surrounding marine waters. Scientists are monitoring the type, number, and food value of the fish the adults provide. And to find... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, science

Red Knot Flies to the Moon and Back

A trip to the moon would mean a flight of 239,000 miles, roughly the same as circling the Earth 10 times. This Red Knot, named B95 for its band number, is nicknamed "Moonbird." Why? This male sandpiper was first banded in 1995 and spotted again -- on his migration through New Jersey -- in May... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, ornithology, science

Sharp-tailed Grouse on a Lek

During spring at Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota, male Sharp-tailed Grouse  - like the one pictured here - perform their elaborate mating dances on a matted patch of ground called a lek. They stomp their feet, extend their wings, and zip around the lek. Then, in an instant,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, science

61 Tons of Robins!

In winter, flocks of American Robins spend the night together. Typically, a few dozen to a few hundred birds roost communally in trees or an old barn, or under a bridge. But larger robin roosts can number in the thousands, or even tens of thousands! In 2007, observers near St. Petersburg, Florida... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, science

Long-distance Champions of Migration - With Scott Weidensaul

Arctic Terns are the long-distance champions of migration. Thanks to satellite transmitters and geolocators, we know that some Arctic Terns travel more than 50,000 miles annually! Scott Weidensaul, naturalist and author of Living on the Wind, says these technology tools “make the issue of bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Banding Birds at Puget Sound Bird Observatory

Suzanne Tomassi, vice president of the Puget Sound Bird Observatory,talks about the rhyme and reason to banding birds...One of the benefits of banding, which is a mark-recapture technique, is that it gives us the opportunity to assess “vital rates,” measures such as survival rate, recapture... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Bringing Puffins Back to Maine - With Stephen Kress

In 1977, Stephen Kress used a creative approach to reintroduce Atlantic Puffins to Eastern Egg Rock, an island in Maine’s Muscongus Bay: decoys! It had been 100 years since these charismatic birds had inhabited the island. Today, thanks to the continuing work by Dr. Kress and Project Puffin, the... read more »

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Learning to Band Birds - Puget Sound Bird Observatory

Picture yourself holding a tiny, Black-capped Chickadee like this one. Or a big, blue Steller’s Jay! Volunteer Mark Purcell did just that while learning to net and band birds with the Puget Sound Bird Observatory. “It’s thrilling to see a bird that close,” he says. “You have complete control over... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, ecology, science

Restoring Bird Colonies with Social Attraction

What does relocating Caspian Terns from an island in the Columbia River have to do with luring Short-tailed Albatrosses away from an active volcano in Japan? They both use methods of social attraction pioneered by Dr. Stephen Kress. Social attraction utilizes visual cues such as decoys and audio... read more »

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More Information than from 100 Years of Bird Banding

Geolocators are revolutionizing our ability to track migrating birds. When mounted on the backs of birds like this Common Swift, these tiny technological backpacks reveal fascinating information. For example, when researchers in Europe used geolocators to study Common Swifts, they discovered a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

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