Almost every culture has at least one story about the majestic crane and they have long been depicted in art in different countries. These large birds have long legs and necks and so they stand out from other birds very easily. There are also representatives of this group of birds on every continent with the exception of two: Antarctica and South America. Cranes belong to the Gruiformes bird order and are grouped into the family ‘Gruidae’.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one in eight bird species is currently facing extinction. The most recent update of the Red List of threatened bird species listed 190 bird species as ‘critically endangered’. Eight of the birds on this list were added this year and a further sixteen species have been given a higher threat status. In sharp contrast, only two species were found to have improved prospects of survival. Clearly things are spiraling out of control.
Established and directed by Dr. Peter P. Marra of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian’s Neighborhood Nestwatch opens up opportunities for ordinary citizens to get involved in a nationwide program by being biologists in their own backyards. Participants in the program will gain an in-depth understanding of birds in their neighborhood, while assisting scientists to gather crucial information with regard to the survival of backyard bird populations.
Birds of prey have long captivated the imagination of mankind. These striking yet graceful hunters of the air display some of the most impressive acrobatics and strategies in the animal kingdom. Swooping down on their prey from dizzying heights at incredible speeds with amazing accuracy, raptors continue to awe, thrill and inspire us even after centuries of admiration.
As part of efforts to boost the success rates of nesting birds in the region, some 2 140 acres of state parkland have been set aside on Long Island’s East End as a conservation area. The protected area will be the 50th such designated zone for birds in New York State and will greatly benefit species such as piping plovers and ospreys.