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arctic

Long-tailed Duck: Little Known Duck of Many Secrets!

The Long-tailed Duck is not widely known outside birdwatching circles. But what a wonderful duck it is. Found only locally at certain times of the year, and with an oddly goofy, human-like voice, the otherwise elegant Long-tailed Duck has some interesting departures from "normal" duck biology... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Rough-legged Hawk

After breeding on Arctic cliffs and tundra hillsides in summer, Rough-legged Hawks winter throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Open country is their ideal territory, where the small rodents they depend on are usually so plentiful that the hawks have enough to eat. But the rodents are cyclic, with... read more »

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The Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper - With Gerrit Vyn

Gerrit Vyn of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recorded the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in the far northeast of Russia, where as few as 100 remaining pairs breed each summer. This sandpiper depends on key coastal wetlands near the Yellow Sea to fuel the long-distance migration to its wintering areas.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, migration, nesting

Teshekpuk Lake in Peril

The wetlands surrounding Teshekpuk Lake provide a food-rich haven for Arctic-breeding geese during the late weeks of summer when they cannot fly. The birds are molting, replacing their worn-out flight feathers. To survive this dangerous time, they must find a place rich in food and safe from... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Help Save Teshekpuk Lake - Comments due by June 15

The comment period for the NPR-A Draft Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement closed on June 15, 2012. Thanks to all of those who commented on the plan.According to National Audubon: The nearly 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the NPR-A, supports a stunning... read more »

Bird Songs Reflect the Environment

Different sounds travel better in different environments. The explosive notes of a Marsh Wren carry well through thick vegetation. A Common Yellowthroat's choppy, repetitive song rattles right through a stand of cattails. An Olive-sided Flycatcher sings from atop a tall tree, its song carrying at... read more »

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Interview with Gerrit Vyn

Imagine carrying heavy battery-operated equipment - along with all your camping gear - across the tundra. That's what recordist Gerrit Vyn did on assignment for Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. His mission? To record the calls of this Yellow-billed Loon. You can learn more about the lab and about... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography, recording

Silly Willow Ptarmigan

Some bird songs leave us in admiration of their beauty, some with a sense of wonder at their complexity—and others are downright comical. As a maker of silly sounds, the male Willow Ptarmigan beats the Three Stooges hands down. But these sounds are no laughing matter. Where it nests in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, vocalization

Martyn Stewart Part II

Martyn Stewart's calling is recording the sounds of birds and nature. He describes some of the rewards of working in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: "It is a great place to go record birds and animals. You know generally that once you point your microphone at a nesting bird or a bird that's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording, sound

Martyn Stewart Part I

We owe a lot to the nature recordists who travel the world to document the calls and songs of birds. Recordist Martyn Stewart describes how he obtained the call of a Rough-legged Hawk (like this one), which nests on the tree-less Arctic tundra: "I had seen this on the Arctic National Wildlife... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording, sound

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