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Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)

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Chorus Line in the Sky

A flock of small shorebirds (like these Western Sandpipers) twists and turns, glittering in the sky. When threatened by a falcon, these birds take to the air, flying so close together that it's hard for a predator to capture one. A bird at one edge turns toward the middle, and a wave sweeps... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight

Flight Coordination Mystery

A flock of sandpipers or starlings - like these - under attack by a falcon can expand and change shape. But the flock regroups rapidly, because one bird doesn't have to re-find a fixed slot among the thousands of others. Instead, the miracle of aerobatic precision hinges on a bird's ability to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, science

How Young Birds Migrate

Millions of shorebirds -- like these Western Sandpipers at rest for the moment-- migrate southward in August. By the time this year's hatchlings have put on their first full set of feathers and plumped up for the journey, their parents have already flown south. How do the novices find their way?... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Mother Birds

Happy Mother's Day, from the whole BirdNote team!Avian motherhood is a mixed bag. Peregrine Falcon mothers share duties fairly equally with Peregrine dads. At the other end of the spectrum is the female hummingbird, which usually carries the entire burden of nesting, incubating, and tending the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Experience Wildness with Adrian Dorst

In a wild place on the west coast of Vancouver Island, author, photographer, and birdwatcher, Adrian Dorst, tells of a time he witnessed fifty or sixty thousand migrating Western Sandpipers: “It looked like snow – except that the snow was drifting upwards! It was just an amazing sight – so many... read more »

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Revitalized Bird Habitat at Owens Lake

The dry lakebed of Owens Lake, in Eastern California, was once a major source of pollution. Today, it’s a magnet for birds like these Eared Grebes. How was Owens Lake transformed? Pete Pumphrey of Eastern Sierra Audubon, explains: “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was ordered to... read more »

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Counting Shorebirds for the Avian Knowledge Network

Shorebirds rely on tidelands and mudflats for food, especially in winter when conditions are tough. Join us on this blustery day to count birds such as these Dunlin at an estuary in western Washington State. The results will go into the Avian Knowledge Network to support the conservation and... read more »

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