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News stories tagged with "birds"

If you want the feeder to yourself, there's nothing like being able to imitate a hawk. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/57974696@N00/8015491794/">pwhellen</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
If you want the feeder to yourself, there's nothing like being able to imitate a hawk. Photo: pwhellen, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: natural deceptions

Birds and other creatures have a sly side and will use deceptive communications to create an advantage for themselves in finding food and finding mates. Blue jays can imitate the sound of a hawk, scaring other species away from the feeder. Some birds mimic the alarm cries of other species, making them think that another of their kind is warning them about a predator.

But they can't pull the trick too often. "Crying wolf" has the same consequences in the animal world as it does in the fairy tale. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss the "tricksy" side of birds, and of cuttlefish.  Go to full article
Male indigo bunting. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kristi_decourcy/7539738334/">Kristi</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Male indigo bunting. Photo: Kristi, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Well-dressed birds of the North Country

While the North Country is not exactly the tropics, we do have our share of exotically-colored birds. Blue creatures, for example, are rare in nature but we have the bluebird, the blue jay and the indigo bunting.

Then there are the goldfinches and the cardinals, the ruby-throated hummingbird and the oriole. Martha Foley and Curt Stager celebrate a little of the local color in colder climes.  Go to full article
Katherine Murphy of Adirondack Wildlife, with a short-eared owl, which is endangered in New York. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Katherine Murphy of Adirondack Wildlife, with a short-eared owl, which is endangered in New York. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Owls attend Earth Day in New York

Earth Day was celebrated at the state Capitol, with a tribute to the late Pete Seeger, and a display of live owls.

Activists gathered at the Capitol to lobby for environmental issues and to hear musicians David Bernz and Dan Einbender pay tribute to Pete Seeger, who passed away in January.  Go to full article
The Pine Bush area. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/andyarthur/11309604054/">Andy Arthur</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The Pine Bush area. Photo: Andy Arthur, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Albany pine barrens get Audubon bird distinction

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Audubon New York has designated the rare inland pine barrens habitat of western Albany as an Important Bird Area. The designation is an international bird conservation initiative that identifies the most important places for birds and recommends protection.

The Pine Bush was named an Important Bird Area because the globally rare ecosystem contains several at-risk birds, including American woodcock, red-shouldered hawk, blue-winged warbler and prairie warbler.  Go to full article
A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State.  Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.
A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State. Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.

Willow Ptarmigan becomes an avian celebrity near Watertown

Carloads of birders from across the region have visited the shore of Lake Ontario, near Watertown, over the last few days hoping to glimpse a rare avian visitor from the Arctic tundra.

Late last week, Eugene Nichols was birding near Point Peninsula and found an all white bird that didn't belong in northern New York. Nichols contacted Jeff Bolsinger, a bird biologist at Fort Drum, who confirmed that it's a Willow Ptarmigan. Bolsinger says the bird normally lives only in northern Canada and Alaska. He says the sighting this week is the first documented sighting of a Willow Ptarmigan in New York State, and the second recorded in the lower 48 states in a century.

Bolsinger told Todd Moe he's not sure how the bird ended up this far south, but it's become an instant celebrity in the birding community.  Go to full article
The rusty blackbird may vanish from the Adirondacks. Photo: Larry Master, used with permission
The rusty blackbird may vanish from the Adirondacks. Photo: Larry Master, used with permission

Iconic Adirondack birds face sharp decline

A new study is raising alarm about the future of some of the Adirondack Park's most iconic birds. The report from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack Program found sharp decline among six bird species that live in the Park's boreal wetlands.

Michale Glennon is the group's science director and her study was published this month in the journal Northeastern Naturalist. Glennon told Brian Mann that some of these birds may eventually vanish from the North Country, pressured by habitat loss, pollution and climate change.  Go to full article
Barred owl in the rain. Archive Photo of the Day 12/19/12: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY
Barred owl in the rain. Archive Photo of the Day 12/19/12: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY

Natural Selections: Barred Owl

The barred owl is often heard but seldom seen. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss the habits of this nocturnal hunter, and Curt demonstrates his own highly-regarded version of its distinctive call.  Go to full article
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs.  Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs. Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA

Want to keep an eye on bird nests this spring?

Lots of birds have begun returning to the North Country from their wintering grounds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is recruiting volunteers for its annual NestWatch citizen science project. Participants map any nest or birdhouse location on the NestWatch website. They report the species of nesting bird, when eggs laid, how many hatch and how many fledglings leave the nest.

Todd Moe spoke with NestWatch project leader Robyn Bailey says the nationwide program tracks and analyzes nesting bird data all year. She says sometimes NestWatchers see something remarkable that surprises scientists.  Go to full article
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/qmnonic/3460388725/sizes/z/in/photolist-6gMp1z-dn2KVz-dn2KSp-dn2KXZ-eiFs8t-duFntF-duLYgL-drk5Um-5Yhxmu-dcCkh3-dcCk8C-5YXb8i-9aQbFz-drUZ2D-5T7xSQ-8RDYrJ-9KkBzB-8RtU1y-8D47iy-66tKhv-dPGVZf-dPBjbx-w3v9G-dTDPUj-bLU5Lr-dPGW4s-dPBjd2-7Jh96c-619Z61-e2FAaR-e2MeLh-e4mU7b-e9Whvd-e3xogj-e3rH7v-e3xoVA-duFusg-5krqCe-7GcWHx-5krqFi-w9SBp-w9SBx-4DSarN-cBKotN-kAwSDH-9hTPeG-919pD8-kAwAT6-axfhZG-dBpK3Z-jjtUyz/">Matt MacGillivray</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo:Matt MacGillivray, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How birds talk: Whallonsburg will host bird language expert

We're just about two weeks away from the first day of spring, but if you look out the window there's still lots of snow and ice across our region. Birds are starting to return, though, and Connor Stedman is watching, and listening.

Stedman is a lifelong naturalist with years of experience sharing nature awareness and traditional skills with students of all ages. He's the director of the Vermont Wilderness School and teaches classes in bird language, wild crafting, and land stewardship around the Northeast. He'll give a lecture tonight at 7:00 at the Whallonsburgh Grange Hall titled "Bird Language through the Seasons" and then he'll lead a field class tomorrow, trekking outside to listen for winter bird language and watch for behavior.

During the lecture he'll review the basics of bird language and explore how birds journey through the seasons, and how they strategize to survive, especially during a tough winter like this one. He spoke this morning with Todd Moe.  Go to full article
Birders flocked to get good views of rare ducks on Lake Champlain last year. Photo: Larry Master
Birders flocked to get good views of rare ducks on Lake Champlain last year. Photo: Larry Master

Bird watchers prepare for annual backyard tally

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) Organizers of the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count say they expect bird watchers from more than 100 countries to participate in this year's event, Feb. 14-17.

The event is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partnership from Bird Studies Canada. Anyone in the world can participate by counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and recording sightings at www.BirdCount.org.  Go to full article

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