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Bird News

Kori Bustard Chick Q&A

June 26, 2015

Bird House curator Sara Hallager has hand-raised kori bustard chicks for nearly 20 years. Now, she's doing it again with two recent hatchlings! Find out about hand-raising chicks from incubation to independence in this Q & A.

Recent News

Loggerhead Shrike Chicks Hatch at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

June 11, 2015

Ten loggerhead shrikes hatched last month at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va. These genetically valuable chicks will be the first SCBI-hatched shrikes to be released into the wild. Learn more.

Miniaturized GPS Tags Allow Tracking of Small Breeding Songbirds to Tropical Winter Territories for First Time

June 10, 2015

For the first time, researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center have tracked small migratory ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) to their tropical wintering grounds with unparalleled accuracy, which significantly improves the understanding of migratory connectivity. Understanding migratory connectivity is key to future conservation efforts. Learn more.

New Kori Bustard Research Sheds Light on Breeding Behaviors

February 11, 2015

The Kori bustard is bird native to the eastern and southern grasslands of Africa. This species weighs in at 40 pounds, making them the world's heaviest flying bird. From 1997 to 2008, the Smithsonian's National Zoo implemented the best practices in breeding husbandry. As a result, more than 40 chicks have hatched here.

Baltimore Oriole at Bird House

April 1, 2014

An adult male Baltimore oriole is the newest addition to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Bird House exhibit. He will serve as an ambassador to his wild cousins and teach Zoo visitors and researchers about the behaviors of this iconic species.

Micronesian Kingfisher Chick Hatches

January 24, 2014

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute rung in 2014 with the hatching of the most endangered species in its collection—a Micronesian kingfisher—Jan. 1.

Experimental Support for Food Limitation of a Short-distance Migratory Bird

January 3, 2014

Evidence is accumulating that long-distance migratory birds wintering in tropical climates have high overwinter survival probabilities and that winter food limitation mainly affects their fitness nonlethally by limiting energetic reserves necessary for successful reproduction.

Past Updates

NSF Proposal Funded

December 16, 2013

Smithsonian Migratory Research Center scientist Brandt Ryder, along with colleagues from Virginia Tech, will receive funding from the National Science Foundation for a research project "Understanding how a hormone-signaling pathway modulates behavioral phenotype within a social network".

Study to Determine Impact of Non-Native Vegetation on Chickadees

December 10, 2013

Dr. Peter Marra from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has started a new National Science Foundation-funded collaboration with Dr. Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware, along with Ph.D. student Desiree Narango, to investigate how non-native plants may be affecting food resources for backyard birds.

Sara Hallager Wins 3 AZA Awards

September 23, 2013

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) awarded National Zoo’s Acting Curator of Birds Sara Hallager with three service awards at its recent national conference in Kansas City, MO.

Socorro Doves

September 19, 2013

With the help of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the Socorro dove has returned home to Mexico! This spring Africam Safari, a zoo located southeast of Mexico City, celebrated the arrival of several Socorro doves, including two hatched here at the National Zoo

Young Whoopers Stay the Course When They Follow a Wise Old Bird

August 29, 2013

Working with records from a long-term effort to reintroduce critically endangered whooping cranes in the Eastern U.S., a University of Maryland-led research team found evidence that these long-lived birds learn their migration route from older cranes, and get better at it with age.

Black-crowned Night Herons Are Back!

March 12, 2013

Wild black-crowned night herons have returned to their nesting colony around the Bird House.

Scientists Find That Rain May Not Always Be a Welcome Thing to Waterbirds

June 11, 2012

Scientists from the Smithsonian and colleagues have found that waterbird communities can be the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to detecting the health of urban estuary ecosystems.

Human-Modified Habitats Shape Bird Mating Patterns

April 13, 2012

A new study suggests that changes by people in suburban environments can affect the number of breeding pairs, their selection of a mate and even shape how a species evolves.

Mad Island: Banding Begins

March 28, 2012

Every spring millions and millions of migratory birds fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico and make land fall at places like the TNC's Mad Island Preserve in Texas. Thanks to support from SCBI champion Helen DuBois and the Trull Foundation, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) is there to greet these tired travelers back to the United States.

Successful Trip to Cuba

March 15, 2012

Because of its size and proximity to the United States, Cuba is a critically important island for overwintering migratory birds. That means that establishing collaborations with Cuban scientists is vital to protecting our shared neotropical birds.