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Migratory Birds News

Adult Egyptian vulture with a yellow face and light brown plumage on its head and neck.
Sep. 20, 2019
Smithsonian scientists tracked Egyptian vultures through 44 countries across 70% of their range. They learned that vultures traveling from Western Europe had shorter, more direct routes to wintering...
a line graph showing how birds have decreased by over 2.9 million since 1970
Sep. 19, 2019
Data show that since 1970, the U.S. and Canada have lost nearly 3 billion birds, a massive reduction in abundance involving hundreds of species, from beloved backyard songbirds to long-distance...
A female black-throated blue warbler with color bands, the unique color band combination allows scientists to recognize individual birds in the field.
Sep. 19, 2019
Smithsonian researchers have studied black-throated blue warblers at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire for decades. Hear about their latest field season.
FMBC field researcher Emma Cox holds a small bird, called a black-and-white warbler, in her hand and prepares to release it after banding it.
May. 23, 2019
In April, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center spent two weeks in Texas for the second season of “Ecology of Urban Birds,” a program that brings middle school students into the field with...
A brightly colored bird perched on a thin branch. It has a yellow chest, red head and long, slender tail feather
Apr. 19, 2019
Humans have Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Wire-tailed manakins have social networks, too. For more than 17 years, Smithsonian ornithologist Brandt Ryder has studied this bird's unique social...
The El Roble shade coffee farm in Colombia. There are trees of different heights, shrubs, green grass and an unpaved road
Mar. 05, 2019
The coffee farm El Roble, nestled high above the Mesa de los Santos region of Colombia, has been in owner Oswaldo Acevedo’s family since 1840. He credits the beauty and ecological diversity of the...
Three versions of the Bird Friendly Coffee logo arranged from oldest on the left to newest on the right with arrows pointing from left to right
Feb. 06, 2019
The Smithsonian Bird Friendly® certification seal has evolved twice since the program began 20 years ago. The latest logo is a bold rectangle that features shady habitat, soaring songbirds and the...
An intern with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center poses for a photo next to the sign for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Science Building
Dec. 21, 2018
What connection do birds have to global health? That’s the question I asked myself after being assigned to an internship with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
A close-up photo of a green darner dragonfly in flight. It has large eyes, a long tail and a short, round body.
Dec. 19, 2018
A new paper describes a dragonfly’s full life cycle for the first time. Insects are a critical driver of food webs, so figuring out why their populations are falling dramatically is important for the...
Shade grown coffee plantation in Nicaragua
Nov. 30, 2018
As part of the Bird-Friendly Coffee initiative, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center ecologist Robert Rice and partners are gearing up to find out which trees in shade coffee farms supply the most food ...
A small bird with black, white and gray feathers, called a Carolina chickadee, holds a green caterpillar in its beak
Oct. 22, 2018
Insect-eating birds that depend on high-calorie, high-protein cuisine (namely caterpillars and spiders) to feed their young are finding the menu severely lacking in backyards landscaped with even a...
Jun. 21, 2018
Smithsonian Bird Friendly® coffee was the big winner at a recent online charity auction.
A blue and white bird, called a cerulean warbler, being held in a researcher's hand
May. 10, 2018
In Texas, a team of Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientists is studying birds that travel through the Gulf of Mexico.
A small, gray-brown and white bird, called a Louisiana waterthrush, being held in a researcher's hand
Apr. 27, 2018
In March, a team of Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientists traveled to Texas to begin their annual study of birds that travel through the Gulf of Mexico.
Brown pelican sitting on nest in the Chesapeake Bay.
Apr. 20, 2018
Brown pelicans are a favorite of visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s American Trail exhibit. Yet, many zoogoers may not realize that these marine birds call the Chesapeake Bay home. Last...
Apr. 12, 2018
SMBC Director Pete Marra is the recipient of the American Ornithological Society’s prestigious Elliott Coues Award in recognition of his outstanding and innovative ornithological research.
A dark gray bird with red eyes and an orange and black beak, called a snail kite, wearing a GPS satellite tracker on its back
Mar. 14, 2018
In November 2017, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center postdoctoral fellow Alex Jahn traveled to southern Brazil to study the migration of snail kites with Brazilian colleagues at Taim Ecological...
A black-and-white warbler perched on a tree branch
Jan. 31, 2018
A cup of coffee can do more than provide a wake-up boost. Consumer choices can help or hinder the survival of migratory bird species. Get the scoop on how Bird Friendly® coffee helps wildlife.
a flock of birds flies over beach waves
Nov. 22, 2017
With a new statistical tool from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, researchers can take data and better understand the strength of migratory connectivity—whether and when populations spread out...
Brown Pelican
Oct. 13, 2017
For the first time ever, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center has teamed up with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to track the migration of brown...
A gray catbird in a researchers hand. It has colored bands around its ankles.
Sep. 06, 2017
What happens when a migratory bird’s path lands it right in an urban area like Washington, D.C.? Can the city's parks support wild birds through the breeding season, and how do their behaviors change...
A small, blue and yellow bird, called a Kirtland's warbler, held in a researcher's hand
Jul. 31, 2017
Following endangered Kirtland's warblers from Michigan to the Bahamas.
Two brown pelicans. One sits on a nest and the second spreads its wings.
Jul. 19, 2017
On July 11, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientist Autumn-Lynn Harrison set out to deploy GPS tags on the Chesapeake Bay’s brown pelicans to track their migrations and better understand the ...
Island scrub-jay. Photo courtesy of Cameron Ghalambor.
Jul. 13, 2017
The island scrub-jay, a songbird endemic to Santa Cruz Island off the coast of southern California, has made headlines in recent years for bucking evolutionary and biological trends—and is at it...
Gray catbird. Photo courtesy of Dan Vickers.
Jun. 30, 2017
Fitted with a GPS device the weight of a paperclip, a gray catbird in the Washington, D.C., area flies south, unaware that the device records its every move. That data is key for conservation...