Science

William Blake sits on the ground next to a Motus antenna, itself sitting in a green field that slopes into a river valley.

A Global Antenna Network Is the Next Frontier of Migration Science

— Motus stations across the landscape pick up ‘pings’ from any radio-tagged birds that fly past. The data, open to everyone, are painting a fuller picture of the journeys the creatures make.

Injury or Illusion? Why a Bird With a Broken Wing May Not Be What It Appears

— Some species feign injuries to protect their nests from predators—a more common behavior than previously thought, new research shows.

How and Why Did Bird Migration Evolve?

— The drive for birds to migrate is at least partially genetic. How those genes developed—and how they function in modern birds—isn't fully known.

Oldest Known Roseate Spoonbill Identified Thanks to Lucky Photograph

— After closely examining images taken by photographer Mac Stone, experts were able to identify a spoonbill banded as a chick 18 years ago.

The Bird Genoscape Project Aims to Unlock the Secrets in Birds’ Feathers

— Recent breakthroughs have allowed researchers from across the Western Hemisphere to begin building a library of avian DNA filled with insights about where birds migrate and their resilience to mounting pressures.

A Matter of Timing: Can Birds Keep Up With Earlier and Earlier Springs?

— The seasons are changing as the planet warms. Some migratory species may break under the strain—but others could surprise us.

To Experience Migration in a New Way, Check Out a Bird Banding Station

— Visiting or volunteering at one of these sites can provide up-close avian encounters and a chance to contribute to valuable data collection.
Sandhill Cranes. In the 1680s, English minister and educator Charles Morton theorized that birds migrate to the moon for the winter.

A Brief History of How Scientists Have Learned About Bird Migration

— Researchers today can follow birds' paths as they fly thousands of miles. But it wasn't always that way. Scroll through more than two centuries of advances in understanding this natural wonder.

A Lunar Eclipse Sheds Light On a Fascinating Behavior In Birds

— Recent research reveals that Black Swifts ascend to remarkable heights when the moon is full. Why they do so is more of a mystery.

Many Birds Are Shrinking and Growing Longer Wings as the World Warms. Why?

— A growing body of research suggests a warming world could mean smaller birds with longer wings, but nothing about the findings is settled.