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Field Notes

What's Up with That Owl? Casting Pellets...

Many kinds of birds — from herons to hawks (and all kinds of raptors, including owls), even shorebirds and fish-eaters like kingfishers — regurgitate pellets. The digestive systems of these birds have to deal with bones, scales, fur, or feathers. So the bird’s gizzard performs a kind of sorting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

In Search of the Araripe Manakin

Former BirdNote board member, Gerrit Vyn, is a sound recordist and photographer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The bird he's looking for is a stunner — the Araripe Manakin. The bird is critically endangered, in part because it has a tiny global range – occurring only on the slopes of Brazil... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography, recording

Nature's Goggles - Nictitating Membranes

They're there and then they're gone — literally in the blink of an eye!The nictitating membrane is a “third eyelid” that extends from the inner corner of the eye to the outer corner. You may see it when a bird (like this Black Vulture) – or certain other creature – blinks. Thinner and more... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography, science

Interaction between two Red-tailed Hawks

Mike Hamilton was birding at Sikes Lake near Carnation Farm, outside the town of Carnation in Washington State, when he spotted a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk flying low over some Cackling Geese in a field. read more »

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Pileated Woodpecker roosting holes

Photographer Gregg Thompson had a stroke of good fortune. He writes:In late September, I noticed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers on this tree trunk. It was too late in the year for them to have any chicks, and after I read a bit, I decided this was a roosting tree. It could have been a nesting... read more »

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The Living Bird - New Book from Cornell, by Gerrit Vyn & Others

A beautiful hardcover book from Cornell, The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature, celebrates the joyful and complex relationship between birds and people. The Living Bird features photos by award-winning photographer and BirdNote board member, Gerrit Vyn. The images are woven together... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, photography

Black-backed Woodpeckers - Pioneers of the Post-Fire Forests

What is it about Black-backed Woodpeckers and fire?Audubon's Alisa Opar wrote in an earlier blog: "Black-backed Woodpeckers are perhaps the most iconic of post-fire species, since they’re wholly reliant on burn zones."Maya Khosla now shares with us her experience of surveying a post-fire area, in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Strike, Shake, and Gulp

Everett Marina, Everett, Washington –While out taking photographs last week, Gregg Thompson was able to catch a Great Egret in action. He writes:I seem to have gotten caught up in shooting sequences of behavior.I especially like having a situation where a certain behavior is repeated many times,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

The Sounds of Nine Special Birds

Can't get enough bird sounds? Enjoy a full minute of beautiful sounds of Cerulean, Golden-cheeked, Swainson's and Kirtland's Warblers, plus the Piping Plover, Lark Bunting, American Golden-Plover, Black-capped Vireo, and Olive-sided Flycatcher, recorded throughout North America, from Texas to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, sound, vocalization

What Do You Call a Group of BirdNote Listeners?

We recently ran a show about collective nouns for groups of birds, A Murder, A Party, A Stare, Or a Siege. At the end, we asked what a group of BirdNote listeners might be called. We asked -- and you answered! Here are some of the suggestions.LisaP and JoeMcA had the same idea. They told us a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, language

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