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shorebird

The Arctic Plain in June

In early June, millions of birds arrive on the Arctic Coastal Plain in Alaska, from all over the world. They're there to attract a mate and raise their young. One shorebird, the Pectoral Sandpiper, has a pectoral sac on its chest. It stands on the ground and inflates this sac, and then takes off... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

A male Buff-breasted Sandpiper courts a female on their breeding grounds far north of the Arctic Circle. He raises his wings, flashing their silvery-white undersides, as he sings his clicking serenade. These birds spend much of the year on grasslands in Argentina, migrating to the Arctic in late... read more »

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Environmental Success at Long Beach - Patrick Comins

We're on Long Beach West on Long Island Sound, with Patrick Comins. Thousands of migratory shorebirds - including Dunlin like these - stop over here on their long migratory journeys. But this ecological gem could have been lost. Good news! Today it's part of the Stewart B. McKinney National... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Anniversary of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

December 6th is the anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, designated so in 1960. The Arctic coastal plain is probably the most important place in Alaska for the widest number of avian species - including this Pectoral Sandpiper - and the greatest number of birds. Ironically, that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Endangered Species Day

This Golden-cheeked Warbler nests only in a Central Texas woodland. Its small breeding range is ever more fragmented by residential development, and its numbers are in serious decline. Endangered Species Day was established by Congress to acknowledge the plight of this warbler and many other... read more »

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Red-necked Phalaropes, Spinners on the Sea

If you’re ever lucky enough to see a Red-necked Phalarope, keep an eye out for its delightful method of feeding. The birds twirl on the surface like little ballerinas, spinning and pecking, again and again. As they spin, the phalaropes force water away from the surface, causing an upward flow... read more »

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Shorebirds Aren't Always on the Shore

Shorebirds' lives take them to many places other than the shore. Most of the shorebirds we see along our coasts migrate to the Arctic in summer. Here, many nest on the tundra, some along rushing streams, and others on rocky mountainsides. Long-billed Curlews winter on the Florida, Gulf, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Shorebirds Fly South

The southward migration of plovers and sandpipers – including these Dunlin – is a protracted affair, spanning up to five months. First to come south are post-breeding adults. In August and September, this summer's hatchlings pass through. Others arrive in October; and some stay right through the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Shorebirds Migrate South

It's September, and millions of shorebirds are on the move. Most nest in high northern latitudes, such as the Arctic tundra. And a surprising number fly all the way to South America. This young Hudsonian Godwit might have hatched near Hudson Bay or in extreme northwest Canada, and it will... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Sentinel Birds

The Killdeer is a sentinel bird, one especially alert to predators. They can see you — or a fox — from a long distance. They keep out of harm's way while warning all the other Killdeers in the area of your presence. Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets also sound alarm calls. Loud,... read more »

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