Apr 232017
 
Letters from Listeners: Odd Things Birds Eat

In the past few weeks, I’ve received a couple of letters from listeners about their backyard birds eating unusual items. Craig Magnuson of Forks, Washington, wrote that he’s seen Evening Grosbeaks, during several different summers, eating cold campfire charcoal shortly after dawn at the Lake Kachess campground in the Wenatchee National Forest. He noted that […]

Sep 122014
 
The 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction Signal Threats to Human Health

Birds are the planet’s superheroes, built for survival. The ice of Antarctica doesn’t faze them. Nor does the heat of the tropics. They thrive in the desert, in swamps, on the open ocean, on sheer rock faces, on treeless tundra, atop airless mountaintops, and burrowed into barren soil. Some fly nonstop for days on end. […]

Jun 162014
 
Flyways for Flyweights: Small Birds Capitalize on Weather Patterns During Epic Migrations

In one of the greatest feats of endurance in the biological world, millions of tiny songbirds—many weighing less than an ounce—migrate thousands of miles to Central and South America each year. Now scientists are finding out how these featherweights do it: using elliptical routes that take advantage of prevailing wind patterns to save calories. “Most […]

Jun 102014
 
New chickadee study shows climate change affecting distribution

The zone of overlap between two popular, closely related backyard birds – the Carolina Chickadee and the Black-capped Chickadee – is moving northward at a rate that matches warming winter temperatures, according to a March 2014 study by researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Villanova University, and Cornell University. Read the full article at […]

Jun 072014
 
Bird Song Hero: The song learning game for everyone

Train your brain to recognize and remember bird songs with the Bird Song Hero matching game. In this five-question video quiz you’ll listen closely to featured songs and match each with the correct sound visualization. Bird Song Hero is a fun way to practice the key skills you need to ID all the bird songs […]

Jan 262014
 
What a Hoot: Snowy Owls Make Rare Southern Appearance

The snowy owl is in town. Bird-watchers, and Harry Potter fans, across the Eastern Seaboard are capturing rare photos of the revered snowy owl, thousands of miles south of its native Arctic home. According to Kevin McGowan, a biologist and ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this could be the largest migration of snowy […]

Jan 252014
 
iPhone app allows Americans to identify backyard birds

A new iPhone app enables North Americans to identify bird species by asking just five simple questions. The free app, released this week by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, uses data from a citizen-science project called eBird that helps rapidly narrow down a bird species based on the location and time of year. “We named […]

Dec 242013
 
Snowy-Owl Migration to US One of Biggest on Record

Snowy owls — large, fluffy, white birds typically found in the Arctic and rarely seen south of the Great Lakes — have swooped down upon the eastern United States in greater numbers than at any time in at least 50 years, one bird expert says. The owls have been spotted as far south as Bermuda, […]

Jun 242013
 
North American Birds Declining as Threats Mount

Throughout the year, birders look forward to changing seasons and avian scenes as they explore woods, grasslands, and wetlands: the spectacle of spring migration, the songs of breeding birds, the autumn southward flight of wintering species from northern nesting grounds. Increasingly, though, both casual bird-watchers and ornithologists note a steady decline in numbers—not just of […]

Jan 132013
 
Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Hatch

Spoon-billed Sandpipers lay 4 eggs in a simple tundra nest comprised of a shallow depression, most often in mosses, lined with a few dwarf willow leaves. The nest is incubated by both adults on half-day shifts — the male most often during the day and the female at night. After 21 days of incubation the […]

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