Puffins near Portland

Puffins, one of the oddest, most charming and hardest to see birds to see in the United States, but it’s getting easier because their numbers on Eastern Egg Rock, a southern Maine island hit a record 148 pairs in 2014. Warming water temperature threatened the efforts of Project Puffin to bring the cartoonish seabird back to its lost colonies.

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Dogs Don't Eat Warblers--in Prospect Park or Anywhere

Warbler Flavored Milkbones

Birders harass dog people in Prospect Park saying they disturb ground-nesting birds. But only six species nest on the ground here, none exclusively. Some aren’t even in the park in the summer.

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Green heron co-op forms in Prospect Park

Several pairs of green herons are building nests or raising young in what’s becoming a heron co-op near the Lullwater in Prospect Park.

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Googa Mooga drives off nesting green herons


Green herons annoyed off their nest by Googa Mooga, a celebration of hipster food, loud music and the selling out of public park land.

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See Turtles Connects Resume-Building Volunteers, Fishermen and Researchers

Baby Leatherback Turtle,Courtesy of Jennie – My Travels.

Whether you’re an aspiring biologist searching for hands-on experience or just a traveler who wants to watch a few turtles on vacation, See Turtles has an expedition for you, says Brad Nahill, marketing director and co-founder. While the See Turtle website showcases mainly the latter, a kind of turtle tourism lite for those with less time than money, the conservation group is branching out. They now connect longer term volunteers who have more time than money.

This is exactly what people are looking for in the age of the Great Recession, animal tourism and voluntourism. Recent college grads, facing 15% unemployment, are willing to take unpaid gigs in a related field. Since posting an application for volunteer opportunities in April, they’ve gotten 500 queries. Wealthier Gen Y grads latching onto the British concept of the Gap Year may be willing to pay thousands of dollars for a resume-boosting international experience. But Nahill hopes to offer the opportunity for a more reasonable fees that go directly to the community, along the lines of $20/day.

“Pretty much anyone can go down and measure a turtle and grab eggs,” says Nahill. “It’s not like darting a tiger…it’s safe.” And he should–that’s how he started out in turtle conservation after college. In many ways sea turtles–which are all either endangered or threatened–are the ideal eco-tourism target. Even the non-skilled can help–whether that’s doing research, patrolling beaches or just showing up on tours. Just the tourists

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