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West

Capturing a Special Moment: Mating American Avocets

The American Avocet is a beautiful shorebird that's found in ephemeral wetlands of the United States, mainly west of the Mississippi, south through Central America. (Ephemeral wetlands are seasonal ponds that are wet only seasonally or only in wet years.)The elegantly curved bill — inspiration... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

Acorn Woodpecker Granaries

The Acorn Woodpecker is found in parts of the western US. It chips small recesses out of trees to fit the acorns it will harvest throughout the fall. A family of Acorn Woodpeckers may use this storage tree, or granary, for generations. Some of them hold as many as 50,000 acorns. So does the Acorn... read more »

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Two Phoebes Share the West

In the American West, there are two species of phoebe that share the same expansive country. But they occupy different habitats. The Say’s Phoebe prefers dry, open country ranging from tundra to desert. This Black Phoebe is a close cousin to the Say’s. But it is nearly always hunting alongside... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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 »

Alex Chadwick at Big Bend — Vultures

Celebrating International Vulture Awareness Day, September 5, 2015 ... Veteran NPR reporter Alex Chadwick reflects on these amazing birds. In late summer 2014, Alex visited Big Bend National Park for BirdNote. During his trip, he got to know Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures — and some of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Black-headed Grosbeak Sings!

The song of this male Black-headed Grosbeak has been described as that of a drunken or scat-singing robin. Compare the songs of both birds, and draw your own conclusion! Singing Black-headed Grosbeaks can be heard from May well into summer, especially in streamside woods. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

The Meadowlark and Water Ouzel - featuring Gordon Hempton

Gordon Hempton, the Soundtracker, likens the joy he feels after a day of recording Western Meadowlarks (their eastern cousin is seen here on the left...) to the experience of John Muir, who knew individual American Dippers (also known as Water Ouzels; seen here on the right) by their songs.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording, reflection, sound, vocalization

Monitoring Rhinoceros Auklets on Protection Island

The nesting colony of Rhinoceros Auklets on Washington State’s Protection Island is among the largest in the world. The birds’ breeding success reflects the health of surrounding marine waters. Scientists are monitoring the type, number, and food value of the fish the adults provide. And to find... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, science

Bushtits Build Their Nest

Mike Hamilton photographed a pair of Bushtits building their sock-like, hanging nest. Both the male and the female work in building the pendulous nest, made from moss, lichen, and spider webs. The female (she's the one with yellow eyes) focuses more on the bowl, while the male builds out the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, ornithology

Finding Mountain Plovers - How Technology Helped!

In the spring of 2013, I found two rare Mountain Plovers in the White Rock Bay area of Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake in Utah. And lately, I have been hoping to see them again.The last couple of trips to the island have made me think of how various technologies used for birding... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

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