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nesting

City Ravens

Once common on the Atlantic Coast, Common Ravens became rare, as human activity grew more obtrusive through the 1900s. But something changed around the dawn of the 21st century. The ravens came back. Ravens now patrol parking lots in New Jersey to seize the choicest trash, dodge speeding cars on... read more »

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Just Whose Ducklings Are Those?

It’s spring, and a female duck swims across a pond with ducklings in tow. Some of the youngsters might not be her own. Wood Ducks and others may lay some of their eggs in other ducks’ nests — or in the nests of other kinds of ducks, like Hooded Mergansers and goldeneyes. Biologists call this nest... read more »

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The Swallows of Capistrano

Every year, the change from winter to spring brings millions of Cliff Swallows from Argentina to North America. Since the early 1800s, swallows had returned, year after year, to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano. But during a restoration project in the 1990s, the venerable mud nests were removed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Crossbills Nest in Winter

In the grips of winter, when most songbirds are months away from the breeding season, crossbills are already warming up. It’s all about the food. When the evergreens hang heavy with snow and cones, crossbills can get all the calories they need for the demands of reproduction: courtship, egg... read more »

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White Ibis's Tricky Nesting Schedule

For many birds, breeding and nesting are tied closely to spring. But for a bird like the White Ibis — one of the most abundant wading birds in the Southeast — the timing of nesting has to do with water. White Ibises forage in shallow pools of fresh water, especially for crayfish and small crabs.... read more »

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Mississippi Kites

The Mississippi Kite is one of America's most elegant raptors. These dove-gray birds spend the summer hunting over plains and woodlands in the southern United States. They often nest colonially — unusual for hawks — with a half-dozen pairs in sight of one another in a grove of tall trees. By... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Spider Silk - Duct Tape for Bird Nests

The spider’s web is an intricate piece of precision engineering. Made from large proteins, it’s sticky, stretchy, and tough. So it’s no surprise that many small birds — including this Anna’s Hummingbird — make a point of collecting strands of spider silk to use in nest construction. Spider silk... read more »

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Chickadees Fledge!

Dasha Gudalewicz lives east of Seattle and followed this little family of Black-capped Chickadees.Someone's hungry...Help arrives on the sceneVery tasty. Still hungry...Satisfied for the moment...Good thing, because somebody else is hungry!Just in time!Takin' a break.No wonder the adult chickadee... read more »

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Red-winged Blackbirds - Denizens of the Marsh

It’s spring, and a male Red-winged Blackbird brandishes his red epaulets to warn away other male Red-winged Blackbirds from his patch of cattails. At the same time, he sings to lure the females into his marshy territory.        The female blends right in with the cattails, as... read more »

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The Sociable Weaver's Colonial Nest

When it comes to nests, common sense suggests that large birds build large nests, and small birds build small nests. But in fact, some species of smaller birds build large nests. None, though, builds anything like the communal structures of Sociable Weavers in southern Africa’s arid plains. These... read more »

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