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The Truth About Large Scale Bird Mortality Events

One of the biggest news stories in recent memory related to birds was about the huge numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds falling from the sky in Arkansas on New Year's Eve and various other reports of large numbers of dead birds from around the world. Rarely does anything involving birds get such media attention, unless it is a story of tragedy or nuisance, but unfortunately it is something that we just expect from mainstream media.

Wildlife Trafficking

Wildlife trafficking is one of the most valuable illicit industry in the world, earning more than $15 billion annually. Only the illegal weapon and drug markets are more lucrative. Birds are the most common animal traded on the wildlife black market, and experts believe that two to five million individuals are traded each year around the globe.

There May Be Snow, But Spring Is Springing - Sandhill Cranes!

Right now, on the Platte River in Nebraska, thousands upon thousands of Sandhill Cranes are beginning to congregate to prepare for their annual northerly pilgrimage. The International Crane Foundation reports that about 80% of all Sandhill Cranes use a 75-mile long area of the Platte River during spring migration.

The First Lady of Descriptive Field Ornithology

Bird watching has never included a more diverse or passionate bunch of odd ducks than it does today. The Internet is so full of the musings of bird lovers it has become perfectly clear that observing birds is not just something that your cousin or neighbor down the way is into. Many people develop such a passion for birds at an early age that it becomes a lifelong hobby.

Species Profile: Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The Yellow-rumped warbler (Dendroica coronata) is one of the most common winter migrants on both the east and west coast. These warblers prefer coniferous forest, but can also be found in deciduous forest. During the winter, these brightly-colored little birds can be found at back yard feeders.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles are unmistakable and easily identified. This large eagle has broad wings, a brown body, and a white head and tail. Its beak and talons are bright yellow. In fact, the eagle's plumage is so unadorned that perhaps the Founding Fathers considered its simplicity when designating it as the national symbol - Ben Franklin's suggestion, the gaudy wild turkey, may have proved difficult to incorporate into official seals!

The Hunt for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

For birders, catching a glimpse of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker is a life experience that ranks somewhere between catching the Loch Ness Monster and climbing Mount Everest while barefoot. This elusive and very-possibly-extinct species has scientists from around the world dropping their pencils, grabbing their binoculars, and plunging boots-first into the dripping, mossy swamps of Arkansas.

California Condor

For such an ugly bird, the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is a species that enjoys a great deal of admiration and attention from birders in North America and around the world. The condor is the subject of an incredible success story after the population was brought back from the brink of extinction by dedicated and diligent biologists. The California Condor is quite distinctive.

Birds and Windmills

Renewable energy such as solar and wind power has been heralded by many environmentalists as a step towards a more sustainable economy. However, other environmentalists argue that wind farms can also pose threats to migrating birds and other wildlife.

How to Choose a Field Guide

Birding has become popular because the activity requires so little equipment -- beginner birders simply need a basic pair of binoculars and a good field guide. Experienced birders will tell you that picking the right field guide will allow you to quickly and effectively identify birds, and enable you to build your knowledge of birds in your area.
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