birds

Personal Essay
5:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Name That Tweet: What Is This Bird, Anyway?

I didn’t see it at first. 

I was just getting into my car in the WLRN parking lot when I heard the warbling.  It seemed the bird song was carried along on the air in surround sound, with a resonance that my colleagues inside the building would envy.

I kept scanning the electrical poles and wires above the parking lot to see if I could spot it.  It had to be there, because he was a born performer, this bird.  What a ham!  Despite the ruckus I was making settling into my driver seat, he just kept singing away.

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Environment
11:29 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Birdwatchers In The Keys On Alert For Nature's Speed Demon

Credit Kerry Ross

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. 
Throw a brick off the top of the Empire State Building and the Peregrine will fall out of the sky faster.

The secret is the falcon’s ability to shape its body into an almost perfect teardrop, fine tuning its muscles and feathers according to the feel of the rushing wind. Navy scientists using radar have clocked them doing 240 miles per hour. Peregrine Falcons don’t do this for fun. They do it to survive.

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Environment
6:30 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Future Of South Florida Conservation Lands In Limbo; Public Asked To Weigh In

South Florida residents can sound off on the future of public conservation lands in Miami-Dade County, through July 8.
Credit cuatrok77 / Flickr Creative Commons

How valuable are state-managed conservation lands? It's a question the South Florida Water Management District has put to the public in a multi-month assessment of fee-owned lands throughout the state.

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Environment
6:30 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Hunting The Flamingo Is A Birder's Rite Of Passage In "Garish, Neon" Florida

The flamingo perfectly represents Florida, according to birder Nicholas Lund.
Credit Robert.Claypool / Flickr Creative Commons

The Birdist's Nicholas Lund -- who, in a recent Slate piece, took each and every state to task for its choice of state bird -- stands by his assertion that the flamingo should be Florida's avian ambassador, even if most of the state's denizens will never set eyes on the pink fellows outside of an aviary or souvenir shop.

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Environment
6:30 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Florida's State Bird Shouldn't Be The Mockingbird (Or The Flamingo)

Northern mockingbirds are usually about ten inches in length, with a fifteen-inch wingspan, grayish upper portions, white undersides, and white patches on the tail and wings. The female has slightly less whiteness in its feathers than the male.
Credit flheritage.com

In a "bird-rich" state like Florida, does the commonplace northern mockingbird deserve to reign as the official state bird? The Birdist's Nicholas Lund thinks not.

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Climate Change
6:03 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Sea Level Rise May Happen Too Quick For Shore Birds To React

Shore birds in South Florida are facing down the threat of rising sea levels.
Credit Hunter-Desportes / Flickr Creative Commons

Humans aren't the only species facing an uncertain future in South Florida should current sea level rise predictions prove accurate. Migratory and resident shore birds also would feel the pinch of encroaching salt water, beach erosion, and shore line and habitat loss. 

When examining current land modeling and other scientific data, in addition to physical evidence, "It becomes clear what a substantial threat sea level rise will be," said Julie Wraithmell, director of Wildlife Conservation, Florida, for the National Audubon Society. 

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Environment
2:16 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Why The 'World's Weirdest Bird' Is Ditching South Florida And Heading North

Roseate spoonbills are increasingly ditching South Florida for points north.
Credit Patdaversa / Flickr Creative Commons

The roseate spoonbill -- often mistaken by confused tourists for the non-native flamingo -- is one of Florida's great iconic species. Dubbed "one of the most breathtaking of the world's weirdest birds" by naturalist Roger Tory Peterson, the gangly creatures are an increasingly rare sight in South Florida. 

According to a feature in the May-June issue of Audubon Magazine, spoonbills have been vacating South Florida in droves, heading north to more hospitable (read: often less developed) lands.

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Bird Watching
11:28 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Why April Is A Bonanza For South Florida Bird Watchers

A migrating Blackburnian Warbler.
Credit Mark Hedden

For birdwatchers and the bird curious, April in South Florida is the jackpot month – the time of year when almost anything with wings can show up.

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A Gator-Free Look At Everglades Animals
7:01 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Nine Awesome Everglades Animals (Aside From The Alligator)

Roseate spoonbills.
Tricia Woolfenden WLRN

Is there any animal more closely associated with the Everglades than the American alligator? OK, the Burmese python has been the 'glades press "darling" as of late, but invasive, non-natives do not count for the purposes of celebrating the Everglades. While Florida's iconic reptilian king deserves all of the attention it gets, there are plenty of other cool critters that inhabit the Everglades.

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Feral Cats in Florida
8:01 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Feral Cats Bill Pits Animal Welfare Advocates Against Conservationalists

Feral cats are a contentious topic in Florida.
Credit Austin Evan / Flickr Creative Commons

Animal welfare advocates are at odds with wildlife conservationalists as the Florida Senate prepares this week to look at a controversial feral cat bill. 

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Vulture Tagging Everglades National Park
7:03 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Tagged Vultures May Solve Mystery About Why They Attack Cars In The Everglades

A tagged black vulture (left) is part of a group of more than 100 vultures being monitored in Everglades National Park.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden

In January, WLRN reported on the curious -- and destructive -- habits of some of the Everglades National Park's vulture population. The birds have been reported to "attack" parked vehicles, picking off rubber and vinyl. The baffling and costly behavior has led Everglades' staff to pass out anti-vulture kits to park visitors. It has also motivated state conservationalists and scientists to look into the matter more thoroughly. 

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Great Backyard Bird Count
4:00 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

This Weekend's Great Backyard Bird Count Allows South Florida Birders To Shape Science

The painted bunting is just one of many species a South Florida birder might tally in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Credit rarvesen / Flickr Creative Commons

Dust off those binoculars and brush up on your birding skills. The 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count is on and South Florida is a historical hotbed of action.

The four-day count -- a joint effort by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada -- is a large-scale citizen-science project with participants from around the globe. There's no cost to join and it's open to birders of all levels, from the casual feeder watcher to hardcore "listers." 

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