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science

Researching High-flying Bar-headed Geese

Twice a year, Bar-headed Geese migrate over the Himalayas, the tallest mountains on the planet. Flying requires ten to twenty times more oxygen than resting. Yet at this altitude, there’s only half to one-third of the oxygen. Animal physiologist Jessica Meir says these amazing birds utilize “a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Fairy-Wrens Sing Secret Passwords to Unborn Chicks

Superb Fairy-wrens teach their embryonic chicks a secret code. This "incubation call" contains a special note that will later serve as a password. When the chicks have hatched, this password enables the adult birds to identify their babies in the darkness of their domed nest. A species of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, science, sound

Shorebirds - Masters of Long-Distance Migration

Dr. Dennis Paulson, BirdNote’s chief science advisor, is an expert on shorebirds. He says new technology is revealing fascinating information about migration routes. (For instance, the alpha-alpha flag, unique to this Whimbrel, tells us the bird was banded in Canada.) For many shorebirds,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Listening for Bird Song - Featuring Gordon Hempton

We may be more indebted to birds than we know. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton explains: “I was curious about the human range of sound . . . it’s a perfect match for bird song,” he says. “. . . If we hear bird song, then we’re also listening to an area that has food, water, and an extended... read more »

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OTS Facilitates Research

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) operates three field research stations in Costa Rica: one in a very wet forest on the Atlantic coastal plain; another near the Pacific Ocean where there’s a long dry season; and the third, near Panama at mid-elevation. Dr. Gordon Orians, a past... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Voices and Vocabularies - Exquisite Thrush Songs

Some believe the song of the Wood Thrush to be the most beautiful bird song in North America. Others select the song of the Hermit Thrush. Still others name the singing of the Swainson’s Thrush. How do thrushes like this Veery create such fine music? The answer is that the birds have a double... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, science, sound, vocalization

In the Field with Wildlife Biologist, Dan Varland

From 1949 to the 1970s, tons of DDT were discharged into ocean waters off the Southern California coast. Even now, decades later, California sea lions that have eaten pesticide-laden prey migrate north as far as British Columbia. Some die and wash up on the beaches of Washington State. There they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, science

Monitoring the Health of Coastal Raptors

Since 1995, biologist Dan Varland, Executive Director of Coastal Raptors, has been monitoring the health of raptors on the Washington coast, where Peregrine Falcons stoop on shorebirds feeding along the tideline. He’s looking for mercury and DDT in the birds’ blood systems. Though it has been... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, science

Voices and Vocabularies - How Birds Sing So Loudly

When a Carolina Wren like this one sings, something remarkable happens. These birds can sing so loudly that you almost have to shout to be heard over their songs!How can a bird like a Carolina Wren – at just 5½ inches long and weighing only as much as four nickels – produce so much sound? The... read more »

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Denver Holt - It's About People

When Denver Holt began his owl research 30 years ago, he was focused on disseminating his findings to the scientific community. Today, he believes that sharing information with both wildlife managers and citizens will make an important difference for owls – including this Long-eared Owl. “In... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, science

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