In a New York Times op-ed, Jim Minick outlines the many ways lead threatens public safety and the sanctity of birds.
The refrain of a Common Raven drove a man to madness in Edgar Allen Poe’s storied poem. Though the call, “Nevermore,” was Poe’s invention, birds’ real cries can often be just as chilling. Here we’ve compiled 10 of the most unsettling nighttime notes, ghoulish groans, and banshee-like wails from across the bird world. And to make it even more of a challenge, two are not North American species. See if you can match the eerie sounds to their sources, and then check the bottom of the page for the right answers.
The rainbow of hues seen in modern bird eggs probably evolved in birds’ dinosaur ancestors, which had eggs with colorful and speckled shells.
It’s easy for us humans to fish food out of jars with narrow openings. We have things like utensils and opposable thumbs and if all else fails, the ability to turn the jar over. Then, presto! We have that last stubborn pickle.
On a postcard-perfect morning in September, construction is underway at Allianz Field in St. Paul, the soon-to-be new home of Minnesota’s professional soccer team. Amid the clanking, beeping, and general hullabaloo, managing partner Bill McGuire is talking about birds. Not the Loons, as fans might expect—after all, that’s the nickname of Minnesota United FC—but rather orioles: The birds are passing through on their annual long-haul journeys south, and McGuire likes to put out protein-packed morsels to help fuel the neotropical migrants’ treks. “I spent the morning getting the mealworms ready, just in case some are still moving through,” he says.
Desirée Narango has knocked on hundreds of doors in the outskirts of Washington, D.C. to make an intimate request of homeowners: permission to count and identify the trees and shrubs in their yards. Luckily for Narango, now an ecologist at the City University of New York, they almost always said yes. In her counts, she’s found the tropical fronds of banana plants, pink-tufted crepe myrtles, scraggly oaks, and hundreds of other woody plants. But her interest in the greenery isn’t that of a botanist. “We’re thinking at the scale of a bird,” Narango says.
As summer turns to fall and the autumnal equinox takes hold, the colors of nature hit a more sizzling note. The verdant trees and wildflowers morph into the signature golds, oranges, crimsons, browns, and blacks of the harvest season. The local bird species are changing as well, and while most orioles are already on the wing to their southern homes, I can’t help but remember their vivid jack-o-lantern colors at this time of year.
For the visually impaired, learning to bird by ear can be a fun challenge that also makes nature more accessible. Here, one birder shares his story.