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science

Protecting Birds from Wind Power

Birds take advantage of windy ridges and other land-forms that create thermals and updrafts to carry them on their migrations. These same windy locations recommend themselves for wind-power turbines. It’s a tricky problem: On one hand, a Department of Energy report calls for the US to generate 20... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Migration Routes Evolve

Why do birds consistently follow certain routes in their migrations? Pathways of migration evolved, shaped by the wind. During the height of the last ice age, ice-free breeding habitat for songbirds remained in what is now Alaska and parts of Western Canada. Studies of fossil pollen show that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

A Northern Gannet Meets Superstorm Sandy

Here's a remarkable story about a bird that survived Superstorm Sandy. A Northern Gannet was flying over the Atlantic Ocean near New Jersey’s south shore, just as Sandy reached the coast there. Coincidentally, the gannet wore a tiny GPS transmitter on a tail-feather, so scientists were able to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Alexa Freeman and the Birds of Papua New Guinea

Tropical biologists Alexandra and Ben Freeman are in Papua New Guinea, documenting the effects of a warming climate on birds that live on the slopes of a remote mountain. Birds like this King of Saxony Bird of Paradise. Often, their research puts them in touch with unexpected beauty, especially... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, ornithology, science

Ridgway's Rails on San Francisco Bay

Once abundant around San Francisco Bay, the Ridgway’s Rail — formerly known as the California Clapper Rail — is now endangered. In the 19th Century, unregulated hunting plundered the species. In the 20th Century, rampant development reduced salt marsh habitat by 85%. But in the 21st Century, the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Birds Respond to a Storm - With Patrick Comins

How do birds fare before a storm? Patrick Comins of Audubon Connecticut says, "Seabirds try to avoid a hurricane if they can, but sometimes end up getting blown off course. Most landbirds are pretty tuned in to weather changes. Whenever there's a storm approaching, you'll notice a lot of frenzied... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Superstorm Sandy's Effects on Birds and Habitat

How did birds and their habitat fare in the wake of Superstorm Sandy? Patrick Comins of Audubon Connecticut, says: "It was extremely powerful. There was significant erosion and over-washing of dunes and beaches. I've had the chance to visit a few of the important nesting areas for Piping Plovers,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Why Bird Poop Is White

Birds brighten our lives. They connect us with nature. But sometimes they connect us a bit too directly with nature. Park under the wrong tree - where a flock of starlings or grackles comes to roost - and nature may cover your car so thickly that it takes a trip or two through the carwash just to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Feisty Cardinal

You may not have seen a Northern Cardinal in the wild, but you've probably seen one on holiday cards or the cover of a bird book. During spring breeding season, biologist Eric Lind and his team capture and band birds at Constitution Marsh on the east side of the Hudson River. For eight years in a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

The Things That Wings Can Tell You About a Bird

One of the reasons we birders are so fascinated by our feathered friends is certainly related to their mastery of the air. They can fly and our terrestrial species has always viewed flight as an enviable, sometimes magical ability. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, plumage, science

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