We 🧡 this Butterfly Tree on display through tomorrow, November 2, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Each butterfly contains the name of a loved one who has died. Stop by and add to it or make a Butterfly Tree in your own community gathering space. #DíaDeLosMuertos #DayOfTheDead
You can often tell a lot about an animal’s behavior from its physical features. In this case, a curved bill, well-developed eyes, and feet with long sharp talons hint that this bird is a hunter and pretty talented at eating meat.
The Yellow-headed Caracara is a medium-sized raptor that is widely distributed throughout the lowlands of South America and parts of southern Central America. This stoic looking one was caught on 📽 by volunteer contributor Miguel Montalvo, near Mariquita, Colombia.
Our ornithologists always recommend birdwatching, but fall migration can offer rare moments of awe. Case in point: this footage of Mississippi Kites (Ictinia mississippiensis) at Bocas Ridge in Panama. The video was recorded by raptor researcher Karl Bardon as part of a raptor migration monitoring program initiated by Smithsonian scientists and the organization ADOPTA.
These hawks are making their journey from the central and southern U.S. to as far south as Argentina for the winter.
This flocking behavior is called “kettling,” when flocks of soaring birds find an updraft of warm air and use it to gain altitude before soaring long distances. It helps them conserve energy during their long-distance migration.
The topography of Central America funnels migrating raptors through a narrow corridor along the Caribbean coast of western Panama. At this one site, more Mississippi Kites have been counted this fall than previous population estimates for the entire species!
See the comments below to find out how to follow the daily hawk counts at Bocas Ridge. #fall #birds
This #WhaleWednesday we're excited to announce a new augmented reality experience that will open September 29 at the @smithsoniannmnh. #CriticalDistance will immerse visitors in a holographic orca pod and allow them to witness this endangered species’ daily obstacles.
Produced by Vision3, Vulcan Productions, and Microsoft #CriticalDistance highlights a pod of 24 endangered southern resident orcas struggling to survive in the Pacific Ocean’s Salish Sea. Visitors will see firsthand how the orcas, including 6-year-old Kiki, must overcome marine noise pollution and vessel disturbances to effectively hunt for food—and, ultimately, survive.
Common Nighthawk Bird Sound
“The Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) typically gives a nasal 'peent' in flight, but during the breeding season the males will make this unearthly 'booming' noise (@ 12s in the recording).
The sound is entirely mechanical, made by flexing the wings in a steep dive and forcing air through the wing feathers. This display is mostly done to impress females, but sometimes also to intimidate intruders (me in this case).” – Jacob Saucier, Division of Birds #SummerRoadTrip #Playlist
Ruddy Duck Bird Sound
"One of my favorite North American breeding bird displays. The Ruddy Duck clacks its bill against its chest, like a folk musician playing the spoons. All while making an adorable belching sound."– Jacob Saucer, Division of Birds #SummerRoadTrip #Playlist
Northern Harrier Bird Sound
"Here's a PSA: don't get too close to that harrier nest! Northern Harrier dads can be fiercely protective. I apparently got too close to this one’s nest, and he made a show of swooping and fussing as I hiked by. Luckily, I had my recorder and camera to document the attack 😉." – Jacob Saucier, Division of Birds #SummerRoadTrip #Playlist
Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) ♂️, recorded at Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming on June 18, 2021
Pinyon Jay Bird Sound
”Pinyon Jay. Social/nomadic/inquisitive. Sadly, sharply declining in population. I was privileged to spend time observing a large flock of them near Moab. The nasal calls of these flocks can be heard from a considerable distance as they rove the desert searching for patches of trees with the seeds and berries that they like to eat.” – Jacob Saucier, Division of Birds #SummerRoadTrip #Playlist
Black-throated Sparrow Bird Song | Summer #RoadTrip Playlist
“I only brought the essentials on this trip. Better believe that included my recorder. Flashback to the beautiful Southwest, where the bouncy, jingling song of the Black-throated Sparrow is a critical part of the soundtrack.” – Jacob Saucier, Division of Birds #SummerRoadTrip #Playlist
Our new #UnsettledNature exhibit reveals the complexity of real-world issues through art.
This lenticular image of corn kernels illustrates how seed banks preserve the plants that feed us. In the aftermath of environmental disaster, banked seeds may provide the genetic diversity essential for breeding crops that can resist new pests or grow in changing climates.
Courtesy Dornith Doherty, Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas; and Moody Gallery, Houston
Proud Dad: A Seahorse Father Gives Birth (over and over and over)
An ant feasting on the "honeydew" of two aphids
Draw a dinosaur in 2 minutes with Paleoartists Bob Walters & Tess Kissinger!
Pallid Bat Eating Scorpion