Migrating birds can become disoriented as they fly at night. But the 9/11 Tribute in Light has come up with a solution.
By Andrew Farnsworth and Kyle G. Horton
Drs. Farnsworth and Horton are scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Every Sept. 11, beams of light rise more than four miles into the night sky from the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan to honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost in America’s most devastating terrorist attacks. The glowing columns elegantly trace the outlines of the twin towers. But they also beckon thousands of migrating birds into the city’s skyscraper canyons, where they can become disoriented and crash headlong into buildings.
We all know the early bird gets the worm, so why do these young endangered grassland songbirds hang out in their nests late into the day? A new study seeks to answer that question, and it could be that playing the waiting game is actually the best way for nesting siblings to get the most food before heading out on their own.
The rainforests of South America are a little lonelier now, with the highly likely or confirmed extinction of eight bird species.
For monarch butterflies in the eastern United States, life revolves around milkweed, a group of about 100 plants in the genus Asclepius that provide food, shelter and nectar for the iconic insects. During their annual migration to the their overwintering sites in the mountains of Mexico, millions of the butterflies float from milkweed to milkweed and other native flowers, on an epic 2,000-mile journey. But in recent years, things have gotten dicey for the orange and black lepidopteron on their journey.
Bird feed is all well and good, but sometimes you want to give the backyard birds a different treat or attract a type of bird to your feeder.
Alex Parker was in his Boulder, Colorado, backyard when Henry first appeared. The young blue jay looked a little scruffy and tired, but was very interested in what Parker was doing.
Whether their subjects are soaring high above the horizon or swimming leisurely through a lake, these intimate photos show a variety of birds in a kaleidoscope of colors, marking this year’s winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year photo competition.
If you’re a bird-watcher, there’s an interactive way to enjoy your hobby thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Cornell scientists created a tool on their BirdCast website (with research funded by NSF, Leon Levy Foundation, Rose Postdoctoral Fellowship and Marshall Aid Commission) that shows in near real-time the volume and direction of migratory birds traveling throughout the country. The migration forecast maps will keep you apprised of what to expect in the days (and nights) ahead.
After Hurricane Matthew slammed into the Bahamas in 2016, researchers were sure the Bahama nuthatch (Sitta pusilla insularis), already an endangered bird, had been wiped out.
Talk to any nature photographer, and they’ll tell you that their best shots often come from patience and keen observation. Sure, there are those impromptu images that happen out of sheer luck, but more often than not a single photograph represents hours or even days of study and dedication. Every year the judges of the Audubon Photography Awards, including myself, are treated to hundreds of photographs capturing unusual or rare bird behaviors. Some are surely a lucky snap, but most are the products of time and patience. This year’s awards provided plenty of such shots, and these are some of our favorite moments from the 2018 entrants.