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News stories tagged with "birds"

Barred owl in the rain. Archive Photo of the Day 12/19/12: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY
Barred owl in the rain. Archive Photo of the Day 12/19/12: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY

Natural Selections: Barred Owl

The barred owl is often heard but seldom seen. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss the habits of this nocturnal hunter, and Curt demonstrates his own highly-regarded version of its distinctive call.  Go to full article
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs.  Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs. Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA

Want to keep an eye on bird nests this spring?

Lots of birds have begun returning to the North Country from their wintering grounds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is recruiting volunteers for its annual NestWatch citizen science project. Participants map any nest or birdhouse location on the NestWatch website. They report the species of nesting bird, when eggs laid, how many hatch and how many fledglings leave the nest.

Todd Moe spoke with NestWatch project leader Robyn Bailey says the nationwide program tracks and analyzes nesting bird data all year. She says sometimes NestWatchers see something remarkable that surprises scientists.  Go to full article
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/qmnonic/3460388725/sizes/z/in/photolist-6gMp1z-dn2KVz-dn2KSp-dn2KXZ-eiFs8t-duFntF-duLYgL-drk5Um-5Yhxmu-dcCkh3-dcCk8C-5YXb8i-9aQbFz-drUZ2D-5T7xSQ-8RDYrJ-9KkBzB-8RtU1y-8D47iy-66tKhv-dPGVZf-dPBjbx-w3v9G-dTDPUj-bLU5Lr-dPGW4s-dPBjd2-7Jh96c-619Z61-e2FAaR-e2MeLh-e4mU7b-e9Whvd-e3xogj-e3rH7v-e3xoVA-duFusg-5krqCe-7GcWHx-5krqFi-w9SBp-w9SBx-4DSarN-cBKotN-kAwSDH-9hTPeG-919pD8-kAwAT6-axfhZG-dBpK3Z-jjtUyz/">Matt MacGillivray</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo:Matt MacGillivray, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How birds talk: Whallonsburg will host bird language expert

We're just about two weeks away from the first day of spring, but if you look out the window there's still lots of snow and ice across our region. Birds are starting to return, though, and Connor Stedman is watching, and listening.

Stedman is a lifelong naturalist with years of experience sharing nature awareness and traditional skills with students of all ages. He's the director of the Vermont Wilderness School and teaches classes in bird language, wild crafting, and land stewardship around the Northeast. He'll give a lecture tonight at 7:00 at the Whallonsburgh Grange Hall titled "Bird Language through the Seasons" and then he'll lead a field class tomorrow, trekking outside to listen for winter bird language and watch for behavior.

During the lecture he'll review the basics of bird language and explore how birds journey through the seasons, and how they strategize to survive, especially during a tough winter like this one. He spoke this morning with Todd Moe.  Go to full article
Birders flocked to get good views of rare ducks on Lake Champlain last year. Photo: Larry Master
Birders flocked to get good views of rare ducks on Lake Champlain last year. Photo: Larry Master

Bird watchers prepare for annual backyard tally

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) Organizers of the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count say they expect bird watchers from more than 100 countries to participate in this year's event, Feb. 14-17.

The event is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partnership from Bird Studies Canada. Anyone in the world can participate by counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and recording sightings at www.BirdCount.org.  Go to full article
Snowy Owl.  Photo:  Larry Master
Snowy Owl. Photo: Larry Master

More arctic wanderers heading south

More Snowy Owls have been sighted around the Northeast and Great Lakes states this winter. Kevin McGowan, a biologist at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, says the recent Snowy Owl irruption is the largest seen in decades, and the large, white owls are expected to stick around through early spring. He spoke with Todd Moe.  Go to full article
The striking colors in this peacock feather come from irridescence, not pigments. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/9422878@N08/7557113322/">Bill Gracey</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The striking colors in this peacock feather come from irridescence, not pigments. Photo: Bill Gracey, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Feathers and irridescence

Most color in nature is the result of pigments that reflect a particular wavelength of light, but some of nature's brightest offerings are created by physical structures within skin, scales and feathers that scattter and interfere with light.

Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about one of nature's flashier displays--irridescent bird feathers.  Go to full article
Culture of clostridium botulinum, which produces the botulism toxins. Photo courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.
Culture of clostridium botulinum, which produces the botulism toxins. Photo courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.

Botulism kills hundreds of loons in Lake Ontario

Type E Botulism, a disease caused by a toxic bacteria, is back in Lake Ontario. And over the last month or so, it's killed several hundred loons, ducks and other birds.

Type E Botulism has triggered annual bird kills in several Great Lakes since the late 1990s. But they've been largely minor on Lake Ontario for the last seven years. That is until residents around Henderson Harbor and Ellisburg in Jefferson County started calling the DEC in late October.  Go to full article
Snowy Owl.  Photo:  Larry Master
Snowy Owl. Photo: Larry Master

Snowy owls invade NY, other states in historic numbers

Snowy Owls from the arctic tundra are setting up winter residence at airports, fields and beaches far south of their normal range. Bird-watchers are reporting snowy owl sightings in dozens of locations across northern New York, the Northeast, midwest and even as far south as North Carolina.

The large, snow-white owls with luminous yellow eyes are thrilling bird-watchers. Todd Moe spoke with Lake Placid birder Larry Master.  Go to full article

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A pigeon's eye view from the Empire State Building. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuan2003/1187720684/">Richard Yuan</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A pigeon's eye view from the Empire State Building. Photo: Richard Yuan, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: more on pigeons

The ubiquitous bird of cities and towns was designed for a different environment. The pigeon's distinctive style of flight is adapted for maneuverability in tight places--near vertical takeoffs and quick changes of direction. This adaptation to cliff and mountainside environments serves them well among our urban cliff dwellings. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss.  Go to full article

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