Wildlife

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It was the year when the Serengeti National Park’s music, or at least one section in its chorus-of-the-wild, died. In 1991, the twitters and whines of African wild dogs went strangely silent in Tanzania’s iconic protected area. Scientists began tracking wild dogs, also called painted wolves, here in 1964. Over the next quarter-century, researchers watched…

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Feathers vary widely in their shape and size and are one of the defining characteristics of birds. Feathers perform many functions for birds which include flight in most species, thermoregulation, waterproofing in marine species, and communication and camouflage via their colour. Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of bird feathers, your pictures…

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Forests are very productive ecosystems accounting for a third of the Earth’s primary productivity. This productivity, and their many layers from forest floor to canopy, make them a great habitat for many bird species across the globe. Worldwide however anthropogenic factors such as logging, introduced invasive species, and land conversion for agriculture, have reduced the…

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Mountains provide habitats for many birds. Mountain ecosystems have adapted to their specific environmental conditions which makes them sensitive to environmental change. Birds that use mountain habitats have adapted to these conditions and are thus also sensitive to environmental change; in many mountain areas habitat change has resulted in the reduction of liveable habitats for…

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Rivers and lakes are important habitats for many bird species because they provide food in the form of fish and aquatic invertebrates, shelter made from aquatic vegetation, and nesting sites within the aquatic vegetation that are sheltered from view. In some areas the water levels of rivers and lakes may vary with rainfall causing their…

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Birds make use of plumage colouration and behaviour to conceal themselves from potential predators or prey, this is known as camouflage. In some species plumage colouration will match the surrounding environment, while patterns such as countershading reduce the shadow on the bird’s underside making it less visible. Certain behaviours such as crouching low to the…

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Herons, egrets and bitterns as a group are varied and have a worldwide distribution, but are common in the tropics. These wading birds are often associated with both fresh and coastal water where they feed at the edge of lakes, rivers, and the sea on aquatic prey including fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Some species may specialise…

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By John Polisar As a college student, my summer wages were earned clearing trails in the premier wilderness areas of the American Mountain West. From the mountaintops, I could look across 360-degree vistas and not see a hint of a road. The areas with grizzlies felt different than those without. In his short stories, Thinking…

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By Susan Lieberman Sharm el Shekih, Egypt The global community has gathered in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt for the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, or CBD—an international treaty to which every country in the world other than the U.S. is a member (but that’s another story). I am here leading…

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