Jul. 15, 2009
The sedge wren is one of the most widespread birds in the Western Hemisphere, and yet it is one of the most poorly understood.
Dec. 14, 2008
Kirtland's warblers are so abundant in some parts of this ecosystem that it is hard to believe that the Kirtland's is the rarest songbird in North America, nesting almost exclusively in about 16...
Nov. 15, 2008
Besides the famous yellow-bellied sapsucker, there is another species of sapsucker, the Williamson's, and there are at least two others more closely related to the yellow-bellied.
Oct. 01, 2008
Hanging upside down on branches, stealing insects from the undersides of leaves, this acrobatic and gregarious bird is always a welcome sight. Though a common visitor to backyard feeders throughout...
Sep. 14, 2008
As soon as they step off the boat onto Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the eight California Channel Islands, a distinctive, metallic call greets visitors. This call belongs the island scrub-jay, a...
Jun. 14, 2008
The rock pigeon is the official English name for our common city pigeon. It is as noble as any animal when you view it in its proper place.
Apr. 01, 2008
The game of survival is all about carving out your niche and being successful in it. Within the natural world, few birds play this game better than the American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus).
Feb. 15, 2008
To many bird enthusiasts, the white-throated sparrow is just an "average Joe." In fact, I suspect that few birders living in Canada and the eastern United States have celebrated the long-awaited...
Dec. 01, 2007
Few birds are so easily identified in flight as a crow, cutting a sharp, sleek image against the sky or a woodland edge with powerful, deliberate wing beats and black form.
Nov. 01, 2007
The Baltimore oriole is perhaps the most famous neotropical migratory bird. Its brilliant orange and black plumage is reminiscent of the crest of Lord Baltimore, an important figure in Maryland's...
Jul. 01, 2007
The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a cult bird. I came to this conclusion very early in life. I grew up birding in Northern California in the '60s and '70s when breeding harlequins had...
Jun. 14, 2007
The northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) is a swamp thing, a seeker of wet woodlands far from where most people go.
Aug. 01, 2005
The widespread American robin is one of our most familiar birds and its arrival in spring is eagerly anticipated.
Aug. 15, 2004
Despite its misleading name, the Tennessee warbler neither breeds nor over-winters in the state of Tennessee. This species got its name when the first specimen collected had the misfortune of being...
Jul. 01, 2004
As darkness descends along rural roadsides from Texas to Argentina, mysterious ember-like dots appear near ground level. Reflecting the beams of car headlights, this orange glow emanates from the...
Jun. 01, 2004
By John Barrat, Smithsonian Office of Public Affairs
Apr. 01, 2004
For many North American birdwatchers, the Cerulean Warbler is one of the most sought-after species during spring and summer.
Jan. 01, 2004
Eastern Phoebes are one of the first migratory birds to arrive in the spring in the northeastern United States. They often appear in March, well ahead of the peak migration for most forest songbirds...
Dec. 01, 2003
The sun is just about to rise on a cool December morning on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The birds awaken at the forest edge and begin calling vociferously: the harsh "shack" call of the Northern...
Sep. 01, 2003
The striking black-throated blue warbler is one of the most common breeding songbirds in the extensive northern hardwood and mixed deciduous/coniferous forests of the northeastern United States and...
Aug. 15, 2003
Although its name sounds like an insult Yosemite Sam might sling at Bugs Bunny, the yellow-bellied sapsucker's moniker aptly describes its appearance and habits.
Jul. 01, 2003
On a cool spring morning in downtown Baltimore this year, the breeze was blowing and the hustle and bustle of an urban city were evident.
Jun. 14, 2003
Suddenly, the tern is struck from above with such force that it teeters in the wind and almost drops its prey. Glancing up, it sees its arch nemesis: the daring and fierce Parasitic Jaeger. The tern...
May. 14, 2003
Most birders in North America are no doubt familiar with the orange-crowned warbler (Oreothlypis celata). The species breeds throughout the western U.S. and across the boreal forest from Alaska to...
May. 01, 2003
Singing from a concealed perch, the catbird truly enjoys its comfortable position. With its tail held down, body feathers fluffed, and wings drooping at its sides, the catbird exuberantly sings a...