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raptor

An Adventure on the Skagit

On the Skagit Flats, an hour north of Seattle, dramatic scenes of wildlife unfold every winter. "The flats" are broad, level deltas where the river drains into Skagit Bay. They offer a wildlife panorama with few equals in North America. Immense Bald Eagles stand ready to give chase for a winter... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Bird's Eye View I

From its lofty outlook, this Red-tailed Hawk commands "a bird's eye view." The Oxford English Dictionary defines that as "a view of a landscape from above, such as is presented to the eye of a bird." Debate continues about birds' visual acuity, but we do know that visual acuity is keenest among... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Roadside Birds

Birding on the road? You'd be amazed! The freeway's wide median and mowed shoulders offer birds a ribbon of open grassland, perfect for hunting. Watch especially for raptors perched on poles and bridges. Songbirds favor wire fences and posts. Smaller roads offer hedgerows and shrubs. But this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Honeybees and Red-tails

BirdNote writer, Todd Peterson, is also a beekeeper. His spring and summer labors in the apiary have long been accompanied by the cry of Red-tailed Hawks that nest in the woods nearby. If it survives its first two years, a Red-tailed Hawk can live from 10 to 15 years. Red-tails and other birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Freeway Hawks

Driving the freeway or a narrow country road, you may glance up at a light pole where a large hawk sits in plain view. If it's brown and somewhat mottled, and its small head and short tail make it appear football-shaped, it's probably a Red-tailed Hawk. During winter, many Red-tailed Hawks move... read more »

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Red-tailed Hawk, Bulky Bird

The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common and widespread hawk in North America. Red-tails often perch on fence posts in rural areas or even atop lights along the roadway. Watch for a large, bulky, football-shaped bird with a small dark head and a rusty-red tail. These hawks visit open fields to... read more »

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The Eagle Eye

Ever heard the term “eagle eye”? An eagle’s vision is incredibly sharp, and its eyes can weigh more than its brain. The secret to the bird’s exceptional vision is the density of visual cells – the rods and cones – of its retina.Support for BirdNote comes from the Port Aransas Tourism Bureau. Home... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, language, science

Old Abe, War Eagle

Abe Lincoln's Birthday! An infantry regiment from Wisconsin had a Bald Eagle as its mascot during the Civil War. Named "Old Abe", in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, this eagle accompanied Company C in nearly 40 battles. After the Civil War, Old Abe retired to the Wisconsin Capital, appearing... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Peregrines and Pigeon Plumages

Urban Peregrine Falcons rely on Rock Pigeons for much of their diet. But some pigeons appear harder to catch than others. Pigeons with white rumps evade pursuing falcons more often than those with dark rumps. When scientists took dark-rumped pigeons and colored their rumps white, their survival... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Peregrine-Shorebird Interaction

Have you ever seen a Peregrine Falcon attack a flock of shorebirds, igniting a breathtaking aerial display? Falcon researcher Steve Herman calls this pattern of evasion "instantaneous synchronicity." The shorebird flock will often form a cone, with the sharpest point shifting continuously to face... read more »

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