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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Cardinals finally let me see them raise babies in Brooklyn

Cardinal Nest

Cardinals feed babies fresh bugs in nest you could see if you knew where to look in Prospect Park.

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Peter Capaldi's Leonardo da Vinci loves animals, mocks humans

Inside-the-Mind-of-Leonardo-ep-1-Photo-28_OP

With Peter Capaldi–a proven choice for the smartest man in the universe–you come away impressed with Leonardo’s love of animals and maybe a little creeped out by his anger at humans.

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Guide to Troubled Birds: showing birds as the jerks they sometimes are

Guide to Troubled Birds

Guide to Troubled Birds is the rare funny bird book that illustrates what any birder secretly knows: a lot of birds are jerks.

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Nest Quest in Prospect Park: wood ducks, herons, swans, cardinals, swallows and, of course, robins nest in the park

Wood duck mother and duckling

Something is going on with nests in Prospect Park this season. They’re everywhere. You can’t walk 50 feet in the park bumping into some adorable tableau of chirping baby birds. Half the trees in the park seem to be brimming with exhibitionist robin families. The big unusual nests this year are green herons and wood ducks (which are living somewhere near dog beach–but where they nested, I don’t know.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green herons are nesting on the lullwater and near the less-fancy bridge by the boathouse.

Green heron on nest by the boathouse. Babies are tucked under her wing.

Green heron feeds her creepy-looking babies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swans in the park, as if in defiance of a potential plan to wipe them out, are multiplying. They have two nests, one helpfully placed on an island by the ice rink to make for easy viewing.

The father swan normally spends his days chasing off other waterfowl, but he came and sat on the eggs with his wife. Apparently he was alarmed by a mommy mallard and her ducklings nearby.

Baby Swans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I havent’ seen barn swallows build nests on the boathouse yet, just in the tunnels.

Barn swallow nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These robins are so desperate for attention they build nests at eye level, sometimes

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Elusive Cardinal Nest

Baby cardinals, so hard to find, have a weird red tint to their bodies. After years of looking I finally found a nest. The babies left before I thought they could make it. I’ll never know if they did.

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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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Two peacocks escape zoo, wander through Brooklyn's Prospect Park and delight kids

Two peacocks walked and flew around Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Botanic Garden after escaping from the zoo. The naughty birds had just been given free range of the zoo and took their freedom a little too far.

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Odds good for owling in Brooklyn

How easy is it to see a snowy owl in Brooklyn this winter? Your odds are pretty good–if you’re willing to haul yourself out to Floyd Bennett Field, an old timey airport on Brooklyn’s shore. I got to see one today after looking on eBird and figuring it was the most likely spot.

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Wildlife Rehabbers share their owls with Brooklyn at Raptorfest 2013 in Prospect Park

Wildlife rehabbers let Brooklynites get close to the hawks, owls and eagle they’ve saved. We got to touch an owl!

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