Bird Watch

Cartographers and National Geographic grantees Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue traveled to the little-known Farallon National Wildlife Refuge to document the scientists who live there and to create an interactive digital map to allow the public to explore the islands from afar. The Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public access to protect this...

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Walking into Banteng Square one Sunday morning in December, music from a sea of songbirds filled the air. All along the pathways, under every tree, and lounging in the grass, were men and their birds. It was lovely, odd, and soon to be unsettling. Birdsong soon gave way to the yells and screams of men....

With the proliferation of drones has come a rising threat to the security of aircraft as well as the possibility that the aerial devices could be used for crimes, or that they could threaten the safety of stadium crowds. Among the solutions authorities have attempted to deal with the problem have been using drones to...

How do explorers celebrate Christmas? Hint: It’s on a volcano. Evolutionary biologist and National Geographic grantee Borja Milá and fellow biologist Christophe Thébaud traveled to Réunion, a volcanic island in the southern Indian Ocean, in hopes of figuring out the big evolutionary story behind a tiny species of bird called the Mascarene gray white-eye. In order to study the birds, the scientists...

By Amy Werner  Each morning those of us who rise after the sun are missing a free daily performance, known as the dawn chorus, sung by early rising avian vocalists in our own backyards.   Dr. Jacob Job works in the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service and as a...

The Bird Hero and villain, mascot and movie star, the penguin captures the imagination unlike any other bird. Upright and bipedal, they look like us. Monogamous, devoted parents, they behave as we do. We celebrate their strengths, parody their shortcomings, and make them the subject of our myths. In studying penguins, we learn about ourselves....

If you’ve been reading the news this week, you know that we’ve just been starkly reminded that the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction – a biodiversity crisis like nothing it has experienced in 65 million years. Yet while species disappear at an unprecedented rate, new species are also being born all...

“This Punchinello figure–such a nose! My lords, there is no such nose as that nose. You cannot look upon it without crying: ‘Oh no, Impossible! Exaggerated!’ Then you smile and say: ‘of course–I might have known; presently he will take it off.’ But Monsieur de Bergerac will never do.” –Ragueneau, “Cyrano de Bergerac” The Bird...

The Bird Can a bird be punk rock? With a mohawk of feathers down its head, a painted-red face, and a diet that includes cobras, the secretary-bird certainly fits the bill. A rebellious deviation of evolution, the secretary is so unique that it’s one of just a handful of birds depicted in the Wall of...

This is the 76th edition of the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” and represents one of the best wild bird photograph collections we have ever seen. This is a testament to how far this community has come and how much effort all of the contributing photographers and enthusiasts have to put in. We...

The Bird To those who would contend evolution a humorless process, see Exhibit A: the kiwi. Round and squat, flightless and half-blind, this strange bird has become a cultural icon despite—or perhaps due to—its lack of physical elegance. New Zealand evolved as a kingdom of birds, so it’s fitting that the eight families representing this region...

Traveling 125 miles under your own power might take a human a week a more to complete. For an endangered Ruppell’s vulture with an epic wingspan of roughly 8 feet, it’s a mere day trip. Long Way to Go for a Meal Carcasses are the major source of food for large vultures. Across Africa, the...

To celebrate its centennial, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has commissioned Ink Dwell studio to create a mural 70 feet long and 40 feet high depicting the 375-million-year evolution of birds through paintings of 270 species. When complete it will be the world’s only mural depicting all the modern families of birds in one place. It’s a...

Wow! We are almost there! Nearly 860,000 Wild Bird Enthusiasts on our Facebook page and counting… This is the 75th edition of the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” and represents one of the best wild bird photograph collections I have ever seen. This is a testament to how far this community has come and...

Absolutely stunning! Our amazing Cape parrots take my breath away every time! Proud, vibrant, wild parrots! Please vote for the Cape parrot as South Africa’s favourite bird and help us raise the public profile of this little-known endemic species. Around 1,000 Cape parrots remain in the last yellowwood forests of South Africa. Take a few seconds to...