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Category archives for Wild Birds

The Owls of Winter: Ghosts of the Grasslands Appear at Twilight

They emerge at twilight, the magical time when rarely seen creatures come out of the shadows. In the balmy air of an unseasonably warm February dusk, twilight indeed has opened a portal to another world. Like bats that flutter from caves at sundown, short-eared owls take to the skies over Stonebridge Farm near Front Royal,…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Mend Them

Even blue-throated macaws and radiated tortoises sometimes need a doctor. Veterinarian Laurie Hess catalogued her decades spent treating unusual creatures in her new book Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Animal Doctor. Recently, she spoke with Nexus Media about exotic animals — which to adopt, which to avoid and which are most threatened by humans. This…

Nesting Instinct: When Birds Change (Genetically-Coded) Flight Plans

From northern Illinois to southern Europe, birds are feeling the effects of climate change. People are seeing new guests at backyard bird feeders, or their absence as insect pests hit crops. Chris Whelan, an ecologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-editor of Why Birds Matter, has tracked these changes closely. Below, Whelan…

A Dark Ship

There are so many birds here at Tristan da Cunha that unless we use extreme measures at night we would wake up to a ship full of them. So we are now a “dark ship.”

Breeding Ground of the Mascarene Petrel Discovered

Pétrel noir de Bourbon may sound like an exotic drink, but it is actually one of the rarest birds in the world. It is so rare, that it has taken a dedicated team of conservationists 15 years just to find their breeding grounds.

High tech solutions to invasive mammal pests

This year the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge in New Zealand launches its project on high tech solutions to invasive mammal pests, hosted by the University of Auckland. The high tech solutions project aims to deliver the long-term science solutions which will become a part of Predator Free New Zealand. In July 2016 the New…

Re-wilding an Island

Last week I bore witness to the re-wilding of an entire island ecosystem. Invasive mammalian predators were eradicated from Ahuahu (Great Mercury Island) in 2014, and the original predators and keystone species are now returning naturally.

Enhancing Our Dedication to the World Around Us: An Introduction to Shedd Aquarium’s Animal Response Team

The following is a blog post by Tim Binder, executive vice president of animal care, Shedd Aquarium. When zoos and aquariums first opened, we thought of ourselves as modern Noah’s arks – protecting wildlife from the approaching “flood” of species extinction. Now, we have a broader focus on proactive, in-the-field research aimed at habitat preservation and…

Terrestrial Conservation on Tetiaroa

On Tetiaroa Marlon Brando wanted to “to maintain the natural beauty of the atoll setting” and as our expedition draws to a close we too are marvelling at the natural marine and terrestrial beauty of the atoll.

Polynesian Rats Don’t Come From Polynesia

The Polynesian rat is distributed throughout the Pacific Ocean and is found on most islands. Early European naturalists thought that because the rat was already present it must be native to each island.

Where an Owl Egg Is Worth More Than Ivory or Rhino Horn

The exact beliefs surrounding the use of owl eggs are not well known, but calls I received generally came from well-educated individuals seeking to cure a relative of cancer or HIV-Aids.

Seabirds Take a Long Time to Forget

Seabirds have incredibly high site fidelity, which means they typically return to the same breeding colony, often where they were born, time and time again. But at the same time they are also amazingly long-distance dispersers to colonise the remotest islands of the world. I was reminded of this paradox this evening barely a few…

Letter-writers make history: President Obama declares first Atlantic Ocean National Monument

Moving forward, it’s important to continue vouching for the environment if we want to continue seeing positive change. And, every action—no matter how small it seems—matters.

Book saves bird’s life: The story of Albie the Albatross

Co-authored by Erica Cirino About a year and a half ago, Melissa Ursey was riding in the car as her husband Jerry drove across the Southern California desert back to their home in Rancho Mirage from their friends’ house in Desert Springs. As the car cruised through the town of Palm Desert, Jerry noticed something…

In Canada’s Boreal Forest, ‘The Land That Gives Life’ Inspires a Push for Protection

A couple works to win UNESCO recognition to help save the vast wilderness of Pimachiowin Aki and preserve a culture’s link to the Earth  For millennia, the Anishinaabe people of the Poplar River First Nation, in the Canadian province of Manitoba, have called the boreal forest that surrounds and sustains them Pimachiowin Aki: The Land…