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News stories tagged with "birds"

Cliff swallows have happily adapted to manmade "cliffs." Photo: < href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dermoidhome/3496409189/">Carol Foil</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Cliff swallows have happily adapted to manmade "cliffs." Photo: < href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dermoidhome/3496409189/">Carol Foil, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Cliff swallow adaptation

Researchers have found that variations in the wingspan of cliff swallows has a measurable impact on their survival in a human-dominated environment. In this week's Natural Selections, Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss how cliff swallows living in a high traffic area have adapted to survive the conditions.  Go to full article
Licensed master bander Gordon Howard of the Crown Point Bird Banding Association holds a Lincoln Sparrow that he had just banded.  Howard's home is in South Carolina, where he is a professor emeritus in the department of parks, recreation and tourism management at Clemson University. He has a canp in Keeseville. Photos: Mark Kurtz
Licensed master bander Gordon Howard of the Crown Point Bird Banding Association holds a Lincoln Sparrow that he had just banded. Howard's home is in South Carolina, where he is a professor emeritus in the department of parks, recreation and tourism management at Clemson University. He has a canp in Keeseville. Photos: Mark Kurtz

Crown Point bird banders track migratory species

An historic documentation of bird migrations at an historic North Country site has come to a close for the season. For almost four decades, the Crown Point Bird Banding Association has been documenting the spring migration at the Crown Point Historic Site.

Established by Mike Peterson, bird banders have recorded and banded 17,374 birds of 106 species since 1976. He's been helped for most of those years by retired NYS Forest Ranger, Gary Lee. Listen to our Heard Up North of Lee banding during the winter at his home in Inlet. The banding takes place during the month of May.

This year, licensed master bander Gordon Howard, Professor Emeritus of Clemson University in South Carolina, led the effort. NCPR photographer Mark Kurtz was there.  Go to full article
Left to right: Passenger Pigeons, juvenile, male and female. Artist: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ectopistes_migratoriusAAP042CA.jpg">Louis Agassiz Fuertes</a>, circa 1910.
Left to right: Passenger Pigeons, juvenile, male and female. Artist: Louis Agassiz Fuertes, circa 1910.

Natural Selections: Passenger Pigeons

Once so numerous they darkened the sky for days while migrating, passenger pigeons arrived in this region in early May each year. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley remember this once ubiquitous species wiped out by human hunting in the nineteenth century.  Go to full article
A Common Pochard, a rare European duck, found among other ducks on Lake Champlain earlier this month.  Photo: Larry Master
A Common Pochard, a rare European duck, found among other ducks on Lake Champlain earlier this month. Photo: Larry Master

A record season for counting birds in Saranac Lake

Record numbers of bird species were counted recently during the Christmas Bird Count in the Saranac Lake area. Larry Master, longtime birder and wildlife photographer, says the Saranac Lake count broke a 47-year-old record for the number of bird species seen and the number of birders counting in the field. Fifty species were seen by 46 birders in the field, also a record for Saranac Lake.

Larry Master has been counting birds all his life. He took over compiling the Saranac Lake results in 1974. He says there was exciting birding news in the first week of the new year when a Common Pochard, a European duck, was sighted among several other very rare ducks, like the Tufted Duck and Barrow's Goldeneye, that gather near the Champlain Bridge at Crown Point.  Go to full article
A Hoary Redpoll sighted near Saranac Lake in early January. (photo: Larry Master)
A Hoary Redpoll sighted near Saranac Lake in early January. (photo: Larry Master)

Birding by the carload

Serious birders spend a lot of time looking for birds -- not just during the annual Christmas Bird Count. Joan Collins led a trek through St. Lawrence County on Sunday during near record-breaking warm temperatures.

Eighteen people took part in the NYS Ornithological Association's car-birding excursion across the northern section of the county including communities along the St. Lawrence River. Collins told Todd Moe that she and her binocular brigade saw a wide variety of winter birds: Trumpeter Swans, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks and lots of Common Redpolls.  Go to full article
Photo: Joanna Richards
Photo: Joanna Richards

Falconry pairs humans and birds in hunting

Falconry, the sport of hunting with birds of prey, is ancient: its history goes back thousands of years. It was once used as a way to catch small prey, like rabbits and pheasants, before humans had guns. And the sport is still practiced today.

It takes many years to become a master falconer under New York state law. It's small game hunting season right now in northern New York, and reporter Joanna Richards went out with falconer Rick West last year, to learn what keeps him practicing this ancient sport.  Go to full article
Snow geese off Point au Roche on Lake Champlain. Photo: Tom Cohen
Snow geese off Point au Roche on Lake Champlain. Photo: Tom Cohen

Heard Up North: masses of snow geese

Thousands of geese are crowding the North Country's skies, lakes, and cornfields on their way south for the winter. A first-hand listen to Snow Geese massing in one Lake Champlain bay reveals a phenomenal din as the birds are constantly moving, taking off and landing, talking all the time.

They often seem to act in unison, as if they are choreographed. When they do take off they look like a white cloud. That's when the sound explodes.

Jack Downs says you can hear them from a mile away or more. And when they lift off or become agitated, it is deafening.  Go to full article
Bicknell's Thrush. Photo: Larry Master
Bicknell's Thrush. Photo: Larry Master

Endangered status considered for Bicknell's thrush

The Fish and Wildlife Service says a rare songbird that nests atop mountains in the Adirondacks and Green Mountains may need protection as an endangered species. Todd Moe spoke with Long Lake birder Joan Collins, who has been tracking the Bicknell's Thrush for more than a decade. She says biologists are alarmed by the decline in the bird's numbers over the past year.  Go to full article
Richard Crossley
Richard Crossley

Preview: Great Adirondack Birding Celebration

Birders of every skill level are gathering at the Paul Smiths College VIC this weekend for the 2012 Great Adirondack Birding Celebration. The annual event includes birding trips, lectures, workshops, an Owl Prowl tonight at dusk, and the Teddy Roosevelt Birding Challenge.

Todd Moe talks with internationally known birder and photographer Richard Crossley, who gives the keynote address Saturday night. Crossley recently published a new bird guide that includes thousands of his photographs of eastern birds in their natural environment. He calls it a new approach to birding.  Go to full article
An unusual visitor on the 2008 bird count: a leucistic black-capped Chickadee. Photo: Larry Master
An unusual visitor on the 2008 bird count: a leucistic black-capped Chickadee. Photo: Larry Master

Early spring, unusual bird sightings

The mild winter and early spring are reflected in some of the most unusual reports in the 15-year history of the Great Backyard Bird Count -- a citizen science project that was conducted around North America for four days last month. Jeff Bolsinger is a bird biologist at Fort Drum. Todd Moe caught up with him by phone on his day off as he hiked through the Indian Creek Nature Center, near Canton, looking for early birds.  Go to full article

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