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News stories tagged with "ornithology"

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
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
<em>Turdus migratorius</em>, the American Robin. Photo: Mgiganteus
Turdus migratorius, the American Robin. Photo: Mgiganteus

Natural Selections: American robins

Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss the varieties and habits of American robins. There are half a dozen different kinds, including albinos. How do they arrive so early in the spring? Sometimes it's because they never leave.  Go to full article
Birders watch and tally numbers from an Adirondack roadside.
Birders watch and tally numbers from an Adirondack roadside.

Christmas bird watching with a benefit

For the 112th year, volunteer birders are fanning out across the country for the annual birding census this winter. The Christmas Bird Count continues through January 5th.

The all-volunteer effort takes a snapshot of bird populations to monitor their status and distribution across the Western Hemisphere. Data collected during the Christmas Bird Count helps researchers monitor bird behavior and bird conservation. You could call it bird watching with a benefit.

Todd Moe spoke with Long Lake birder Joan Collins, who says the Audubon Society started the Christmas Bird Count in 1900 as an alternative to a Victorian-era holiday hunting tradition of shooting the greatest number of birds.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Bird Monogamy

Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager discuss the manners and morals of avian mating.  Go to full article
Tan-striped form and white-striped form.
Tan-striped form and white-striped form.

Natural Selections: white-throated sparrow

Dr. Curt Stager describes the differences between two variations of the white-throated sparrow - the white-striped form and the tan-striped form. Though the birds are from the same species and are complementary in some ways, their looks and behaviors are very different. Martha Foley asks: which is more competent?  Go to full article
A male Common Redpoll (photo: Larry Master, Lake Placid)
A male Common Redpoll (photo: Larry Master, Lake Placid)

Birders prepare for annual count

Birders in the Northeast expect to see fewer robins and more redpolls as thousands of citizen scientists across North America get out their tally sheets for the 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Pat Leonard, of the Cornell Lab, helps coordinate the annual weekend count. She says the survey, which began this morning and continues through Presidents' Day, gives a snapshot of bird populations and migration trends. Leonard says the event typically records millions of observations.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Nuthatches

Northeastern forests are one of the few places where the white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatch share the same habitat. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about these frequent visitors to winter birdfeeders.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Bird Feathers

What can we learn from a single feather about a bird or about the purpose of that feather? Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about these unique and remarkable natural structures.  Go to full article
The "Phantom of the North", photo by Brian Sullivan
The "Phantom of the North", photo by Brian Sullivan

Great Gray Owl Glides Into NNY

The Great Gray Owl usually lives deep in the boreal forests of Canada. It's the official bird of the province of Manitoba. But due to scarce food and severe weather, thousands of the raptors have drifted south this year. They've invaded Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, even southern Ontario and Quebec. But a Great Gray hadn't been spotted in New York State since 1996, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Until last Wednesday, that is, when ornithologist Gerry Smith spotted one in the farm fields between Clayton and Cape Vincent in Jefferson County. It so happened that David Sommerstein was there too and has the story.  Go to full article

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