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human interaction

A Tale of Hummingbird Etiquette

Artist and writer Beth Surdut listens to ravens and has paddled with alligators in wild and scenic places. She also knows about proper etiquette when encountering the smallest, fastest bird in the desert...This story starts with bird droppings. But before I go any further, if you have a penny and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, reflection

Purple Martins Change Their Habits

While Purple Martins west of the Rockies will happily nest in an old woodpecker hole, Purple Martins east of the Rockies rarely nest in natural cavities. Instead, they nest in birdhouses provided by humans. They depend on people to a huge extent and thrive close by their homes. People, in turn,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, nesting

Hummingbird Feeder Homebrew

The familiar components of a hummingbird feeder include a bottle, sugar water, and something red to attract the birds. (But not the water, please! Food coloring can be harmful to hummers. Here's a healthy recipe.) Feeding hummingbirds such as this Anna’s Hummingbird may seem like a recent... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, history, human interaction

Highways as Habitat for Hawks

In 1956, the Eisenhower Administration announced plans for the nation’s new interstate highway system. Planners foresaw 41,000 miles of superior highways, with a grassy border on either side and down the middle. The grassy areas created ribbons of wildlife habitat occupied by small mammals such... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, human interaction

Searching for the Araripe Manakin, With Gerrit Vyn

Gerrit Vyn is a sound recordist for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He recently traveled to northeastern Brazil’s Araripe Plateau in search of the Araripe Manakin, a beautiful white bird with dark wing-tips and tail-feathers — and a deep red hood. The Araripe Manakin is critically endangered, in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, photography, recording

Men Who Stay

BirdNote writer Todd Peterson reflects on his friend, a hunter, from Nebraska. Todd’s friend, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, has lost the urge to hunt. He sits in the duck blind, but he does not shoot . . . read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, reflection

Waxwing Nightlight

The warm colors and bright accents of the Bohemian Waxwing might make you think it glows in the dark. For the better part of two thousand years, that’s what people believed. Pliny reported that their feathers “shine like flames” in the dark forests of central Europe. The Germans allegedly used... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, human interaction, humor, ornithology

Finding Your Way Home

In her book Out of the Woods, Lynn Darling describes an account of way-finding through the thick fog of coastal Greenland. An Inuit hunting party was kayaking close enough to shore to hear breaking waves, but the land was lost in mist. Darling writes: “After hours of steady paddling, the leader... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

The Eagle Trains the Man

A Golden Eagle perches on the arm of a Kazakh horseman in the Altai Mountains of Northwestern Mongolia. The horseman and bird are hunting golden foxes, hares, even wolves. It is said that as the man trains the eagle, the eagle trains the man. To quote the writer Dave Stamboulis, hunting with... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, human interaction

Suburbs, Juncos, and Evolution

Birds have been living near humans for millions of years. But only during the past 5,000 years have birds and humans shared space in cities and towns. “What we’ve done is create a new place where birds are under intense natural selection — from our activities,” says John Marzluff, Professor of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

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