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fresh water

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans have a nine-foot wingspan, nearly that of the California Condor. In summer, they breed mainly in the interior west of the United States and Canada, favoring shallow portions of lakes, marshes, and rivers, where they scoop fish from the water in the pouches of their beaks. read more »

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American Dipper Juvenile Goes for a Caddisfly Larva

Photographer Mike Hamilton was exploring Tokul Creek east of Seattle late in the summer ...... when he spotted this juvenile American Dipper.Watching, waiting...It's in here somewhere.Taking the plunge!And it's a ... caddisfly larva!Down the hatch!###All photos © Mike HamiltonListen to these... read more »

Common Mergansers Pushed by the Ice

Around this time of year, Common Mergansers cross the US-Canadian border on their way to wintering grounds in the Lower 48. But how do they know when to go? Ducks are well insulated against frigid winter temperatures, but mergansers can find their fishy prey only by diving below the surface of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

The Ballet of the Grebes

When a pair of Western Grebes decides it’s time to mate, they call loudly and approach one another. Each bird curves, then straightens, its long neck gracefully. They then face each other, necks on the water’s surface, their bills flipping up drops of water. If attraction prevails, they rush... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Hardy Birds - Mergansers

Even on a frigid winter day, a wander along the Potomac brings unexpected rewards. January can offer one of the more exceptional sightings: Hooded Mergansers. I watched a pair working the slower channels of the river and marveled at not only their appearance, but their toughness in fishing hour... read more »

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Golden Eagle - The Other Eagle

The Bald Eagle stands proud as our national bird, spreads its wings on our national emblem, and serves as mascot of countless sports teams. So prominent is this iconic bird in our culture that we sometimes overlook a second, equally majestic eagle: the Golden Eagle. While Bald Eagles are confined... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, myth

Winter Romance - Common Goldeneyes

Most duck species court and form pair bonds in winter. In the icy waters of Vermont’s Lake Champlain, Common Goldeneyes are getting hot! This male is displaying his signature move, the “head-throw-kick,” to attract a mate. Goldeneye pairs now bonding throughout the US will migrate... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Hooded Mergansers - Getting Frisky

It's winter, but many species of ducks are already preparing for spring.Nearly all ducks are seasonally monogamous, forming pair bonds with new partners every year. Go to your local pond, lake, or beach during the winter, and you may be lucky enough to see male mergansers, goldeneyes, or... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Great Missoula Flood - Scablands and Plunge Pools

During the last ice age, a lobe of the ice sheet covering western Canada dammed the Clark Fork River, creating a vast lake in what is now northwestern Montana. Several times during the past 15,000 years, the ice dam broke, sending hundreds of cubic miles of water roaring across the inland... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

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