4 Videos: Threatened Birds Face Polar Bears, Poop-Sniffing Reporters

As National Geographic this week presents a special series on the plight of threatened bird species around the world, Winged Warnings, we highlight some of our most recent and best videos about species facing extinction.

With fewer than 800 adult Cape parrots left in the wild, National Geographic grantee Steve Boyes is doing his part to save the species. In the video above, Boyes rehabilitates birds that have psittacine beak and feather disease, caused by a virus. Boyes describes this as a particularly nasty airborne virus that destroys the skin and feathers while opening large, painful fissures in the beak that eventually break it apart.

Polar Bears Threatening Birds

Sometimes trouble for one species spells trouble for another. The loss of sea ice is forcing polar bears to search for food on land more often, and that endangers birds, whose eggs become high-protein snacks for the bears. In this video, researchers watch a pair of polar bears eat the eggs from more than 250 nests of eider ducks. And the bears don’t stop with eggs; they eat the birds, too, especially the threatened arctic ducks.


Counting Seeds in Bird Dung 
Investigating a bird species can mean getting up close and personal, and even kneeling down on hands and knees to sniff bird poop. The dung of cassowaries, a huge, flightless, and threatened bird in New Guinea and Australia, is full of digested seeds the birds have eaten and “planted.” Photographer Christian Ziegler and writer Olivia Judson recount how they helped chronicle this bird’s lifestyle for National Geographic magazine


Bizarre Bird Gets a Closer Look
Of New Zealand’s five kiwi species, four are considered vulnerable or endangered. The bizarre-looking, flightless birds have been threatened by both deforestation and invasive predators. At the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, researchers are studying the kiwi to improve zoo habitat and better care for kiwi chicks and adults.


Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Jeff has been a Senior Video Producer with National Geographic for over 10 years. He manages day-to-day operation of National Geographic's online video player and writes, produces and narrates videos. A video news journalist for more than 25 years, his previous experience includes Senior Producer for Discovery Science Channel, Executive Producer for a regional cable news channel, and News Director, News Anchor, Producer and Reporter for several local network affiliates in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Washington, DC and West Virginia.