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News stories tagged with "birds"

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
Originally a cliff-nesting species, pigeons have easily adapted to the man-made cliffs of urban environments. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zayzayem/3620661261/">Michael Zimmer</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Originally a cliff-nesting species, pigeons have easily adapted to the man-made cliffs of urban environments. Photo: Michael Zimmer, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Pigeons and doves

Pigeons and doves, both domestic and feral, are the same species. Today's urban environment mimics their original favored habitat, seaside cliffs in Europe and Asia.

Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss this commonest bird companion in densely settled areas.  Go to full article
Eastern bluebird feeding on winterberry. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebirdsplus/5355914860/">nebirdsplus</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Eastern bluebird feeding on winterberry. Photo: nebirdsplus, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Adding color to the bleak November garden

At a glance, the November landscape can look mighty bleak. The brilliant display of foliage is replaced by muted washes of brown and purple, still beautiful, but subtly so, with a few touches of yellow in the marshy spots.

The real brights spots left are probably the few fruits that remain, or are just coming into their own. They're nice on the eye, and a vital link in the food chain that supports migrating and winter-resident birds.

Amy Ivy has an eye on trees and plants to add to the backyard landscape in her conversation with Martha Foley this morning.  Go to full article
Hermit thrush. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hermit_thrush_qmnonic.jpg">Matt MacGillivray</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Hermit thrush. Photo: Matt MacGillivray, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Hermit thrush

One of nature's most beautiful singers is the hermit thrush. The opposite of "good children," they are often heard but seldom seen. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about this elusive insectivore of northern forests.  Go to full article

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