Enter the 'Funky Nests in Funky Places' Photography Contest

photo by: Donna Santarossa Windsor, ON, Canada, Morning Dove 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, located in Ithaca NY, announces the launch of their annual ‘Funky Nests in Funky Places’ contest. This popular contest focuses on the quirky places birds sometimes build their nests. Participants have found nests on tiny skyscraper ledges, in barbecue grills, traffic lights, wind chimes, flower pots, an old motorcycle helmet, or just about anywhere. Go outside this spring and check out store signs, streetlights, balconies, traffic lights, gutters, downspouts, rooftops, stadium lights, light fixtures, grills, utility poles, potted plants and more! You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find, and be sure to share your discoveries. The contest is geared towards the general public, they are not looking for professional photographers,  just looking for interesting stories. They  hope that people of all ages will participate, and will accept diverse types of entries like poems or videos.

Global Big Day

Prairie Warbler by Greg Gard

Global Big Day is a single day uniting birdwatchers worldwide across political boundaries and language barriers, all brought together by the shared passion for birds. Global Big Day takes place on May 14, 2016, is easy to participate in and helps scientists learn about bird populations and migration patterns. Submit Your Data to eBird on May 14
It’s that simple. If you submit your birds to eBird they count. Learn how to take part.

Look for El Niño Surprises During the Great Backyard Bird Count

Orange highlights the above-normal warmth of equatorial surface waters in the Pacific that are driving the current El Niño. Image courtesy of NOAA. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,  the El Niño weather phenomenon warming Pacific waters to temperatures matching the highest ever recorded, participants in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), may be in for a few surprises. The 19th annual GBBC is taking place worldwide February 12 through 15. Information gathered and reported online at birdcount.org will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns. “The most recent big El Niño took place during the winter of 1997-98,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program which collects worldwide bird counts year-round and also provides the backbone for the GBBC. “The GBBC was launched in February 1998 and was pretty small at first.

Animal Homes

Animals, like humans, need a place they can call home to provide a safe and stable place to raise a family, but they go about building it in entirely different ways. Whether it is a bird’s nest, bear den, beaver lodge or spider web, these are homes of great complexity, constructed from a wide range of natural as well as man-made materials. This three-part series investigates just how animals build their remarkable homes around the globe and the intriguing behaviors and social interactions that take place in and around them. Hosting the series is ecologist Chris Morgan (Siberian Tiger Quest, Bears of the Last Frontier), who serves as guide and real estate agent. He evaluates and deconstructs animal abodes, their materials, location, neighborhood and aesthetics.

The Sagebrush Sea

It’s been called The Big Empty – an immense sea of sagebrush that once stretched 500,000 square miles across North America, exasperating thousands of westward-bound travelers as an endless place through which they had to pass to reach their destinations. Yet it’s far from empty, as those who look closely will discover. In this ecosystem anchored by the sage, eagles and antelope, badgers and lizards, rabbits, wrens, owls, prairie dogs, songbirds, hawks and migrating birds of all description make their homes. The Sagebrush Sea tracks the Greater Sage-Grouse and other wildlife through the seasons as they struggle to survive in this rugged and changing landscape. In early spring, male sage grouse move to open spaces, gathering in clearings known as leks to establish mating rights.