seabirds

I drove through Punakaiki recently. Once a year this west coast town holds a festival to welcome the Westland petrel back home to New Zealand after its annual sojourn to South American waters. Amid a weekend of music and revelry, festival-goers gather on the beach at sunset to watch thousands of large black seabirds assemble…

Wildlife

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The fourth annual World Seabird Twitter Conference took place over this past week, with seabird researchers all over the globe chiming in around the clock for three days straight. You don’t need a Twitter account to peruse the presentations: #WSTC4. I had a 15-minute slot to “present” and answer questions about my own tweets:   I’m…

Wildlife

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When the United States Embassy in New Zealand asks if you’ll do an Earth Day post about impacts of mismanaged waste on the global environment—with a focus on seabirds—what do you do? Quick, call Lilly Sedaghat and Steph Borrelle! Sedaghat is one of my four fellow Fellows (2017-2018 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows, that is), currently studying waste…

Changing Planet

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In the far north of New Zealand lie the rugged Poor Knights Islands, off-limits to terrestrial tourism, but surrounded by a stunning marine reserve containing one of Jacques Cousteau’s top ten dive sites. Why are these prismatic waters so rich with life? One likely factor is the abundance of seabirds that breed here, bringing nutrients they’ve…

Wildlife

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“They came back,” says biologist Donald Webster. “This year.” His voice has a wistful note, wondering if the king of ducks, as the beautiful, crimson-headed canvasback is known, will return to rule Chesapeake Bay again next winter. In parka, gloves and hat, Webster, waterfowl coordinator for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), raises his…

Wildlife

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 Supposedly I didn’t show any fear during my first abseil, down a 70-meter seacliff south of Dunedin, New Zealand. Thank you, poker face. But in truth, it was amazement more than fear that I felt while hanging vertiginously over the ocean, descending past surfaces sculpted like unfired urns, to find a wild, winged treasure…

Wildlife

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When most people think about ocean creatures, they picture large charismatic species like whales, penguins, polar bears, sharks and turtles. These magnificent animals are the “celebrities” of the oceans and tend to received significant public and scientific attention. In fact, they are even play starring roles in Hollywood movies, such as Happy Feet, Dolphin Tale,…

Uncategorized

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When most people think about ocean creatures, they picture large charismatic species like whales, penguins, polar bears, sharks and turtles. These magnificent animals are the “celebrities” of the oceans and tend to received significant public and scientific attention. In fact, they are even play starring roles in Hollywood movies, such as Happy Feet, Dolphin Tale,…

Uncategorized

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