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science

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

Asleep on a Perch

When birds like these Rock Pigeons retire for the night, they seek a place to roost. And while the world of birds includes a variety of sleeping arrangements, many songbirds, such as cardinals or finches, sleep perched in the safety of dense trees or shrubs. When they fall asleep, they stand on... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Old and New Memories of Black-capped Chickadees

Fernando Nottebohm of Rockefeller University studies the growth of neurons in the brains of birds. He’s an expert in the remarkable ability of Black-capped Chickadees to recall the locations of hundreds of stored seeds. Dr. Nottebohm suggests that as demand for memory space peaks, chickadees... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Geolocators Reveal Secrets of Landbird Migration

Geolocators are revealing fascinating information about the lives of migratory birds. These devices are so light that they can be mounted on the backs of even small birds like the Wood Thrush pictured here with its nestlings. Thanks to geolocators, we know that many Wood Thrushes return to the U.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, ornithology, science

Counting North America's Waterfowl

In autumn, millions of North American waterfowl – like these Redheads – migrate south. They come from Alaska, the prairies and forests of Canada, the Pothole region of the Dakotas, and Eastern Montana. Their arrival is awaited by birders and hunters alike. Because waterfowl are a vital natural... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting, science

How Evolution Works, Featuring Dr. Mike Webster

After breeding in Alaska, some Swainson’s Thrushes migrate across Canada to the East Coast before turning south to Ecuador. Others migrate directly down the Pacific Coast to the same destination. Why are some are traveling twice the distance? Dr. Mike Webster of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, science

Radar Ornithology with Dr. Cliff Mass

Did you know that weather radar can track the migration of birds? Dr. Cliff Mass, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, describes the radar images from a massive migration through the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Shortly after midnight on September 8, huge... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Purple Martins Head South to the Amazon

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow that nests in the US and Canada. It’s also one of our most beloved birds, judging by how many people put up nest boxes for them! During fall, Purple Martins from western North America migrate to a distinct wintering area in southeastern Brazil — a travel... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

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