How gardening with native plants can teach kids eco-stewardshipAugust 01, 2022 – Plus, suggestions for habitat-friendly shrubs and flowers wherever you live
Your family can fight invasive species—by eating themMarch 29, 2022 – How to spot edible invasive plants, plus kid-friendly recipes
How to fight invasive plants—one bite at a timeJune 07, 2022 – These non-native species are a problem across the United States. Foraging for them can help ecosystems heal and help you make tasty treats.
BirdsBirds are warm-blooded vertebrates (vertebrates have backbones) and are the only animals with feathers. Although all birds have wings, a few species can't fly.
Birds of ParadiseApril 11, 2010 – Learn about the dozens of species called birds of paradise. Discover the dramatic, brightly colored plumage that sets them apart from their peers.
Secretary birdsJune 26, 2020
Game birdsNovember 23, 2022
Bird Pictures & FactsYour destination for news, pictures, facts, and videos about birds.
'The perfect revenge'? Birds are building fortresses from anti-bird spikesJuly 17, 2023 – Despite a plethora of products designed to keep birds off buildings, our feathered friends are sending a clear message: Nice try.
HornbillsApril 09, 2021
Humboldt PenguinFebruary 11, 2016 – Crossing a beach to get to the sea, a two-foot-tall Humboldt penguin waddles over what appears to be a cluster of large boulders. Suddenly one of the rock-like objects rises up and barks! The penguin is stepping on sea lions lounging on the shore. Sea lions prey on Humboldt penguins in water but are too slow to catch them on land. The bird continues to ruffle feathers as it climbs over more annoyed sea lions. But it finally makes it to the ocean and dives in for a swim. A GOOD SPORT Humboldt penguins live along the shores of Peru and Chile, two countries in South America. Named for a chilly water current that flows through their coastal range, these birds are excellent swimmers. Their torpedo-shaped bodies can shoot through the water at speeds of 30 miles an hour. And they can dive up to 500 feet underwater in search of snacks such as fish, shrimp, and squid. When the birds need a break from swimming, they come ashore. Getting around on land isn’t always easy. Parts of their habitat feature rocky seaside cliffs. Luckily the animals have some built-in climbing gear: They use sharp claws on their webbed feet to grip onto rocks as they move across the rugged landscape. The animals also put their climbing skills to use when they have to scramble over sunbathing sea lions blocking their path to the ocean. THINK PINK During the hottest months of the year, temperatures in the Humboldt penguin's home can reach triple digits. The animal has ways to beat the heat though. It sports patches of bare, pink skin around its eyes and at the base of its bill. The bird expels body heat through these featherless spots. This little guy's athletic abilities and its pink patches make it one colorful penguin! Check out the book Penguins vs. Puffins for more about these amazing birds! Watch a YouTube playlist all about penguins. Text by Andrea Silen, NGS Staff
Common EmuDecember 21, 2018 – The emu's three-toed feet allow it to run up to 30 miles per hour.
Greater sage grouseSeptember 13, 2021
Weird But True: BirdsSeptember 15, 2022 – Get Weird But True! facts about birds.
OstrichMarch 01, 2014 – The ostrich is the tallest and the heaviest of all birds. While the huge ostrich is a bird, it does not fly. Instead it runs. One stride can cover up to 16 feet (4.9 meters)—about the length of a mid-size family car! The bird is speedy, too. It can run just over 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour for a short distance, and can keep up a speed of more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour over longer distances. The ostrich uses its short wings for balance, holding them outstretched when it runs. Strong legs can also be used for self-defense. An ostrich will kick with a force mighty enough to kill a lion. When danger approaches, an ostrich will often lie low to hide, stretching its neck along the ground. Its feather colors blend with the sandy soil where it lives. From far away, it looks like the ostrich has buried its head in the sand. Many people thought that was what ostriches did when they were trying to hide, but that is a myth. Ostriches live near grazing animals such as wildebeest, antelopes, and zebras. The grazers stir up insects and rodents for the ostriches to eat, and the ostriches warn the grazers to dangers such as approaching lions. An ostrich group, called a herd, numbers about 12 individuals. Male ostriches compete for control of a group of several females. A herd has a dominant male and a dominant female. She mates only with him, though he may mate with other females as well. All the egg-laying females, called hens, lay their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. Then that female—whose eggs are positioned in the center of the nest, the most well-protected spot—and her mate take care of all the eggs in that one nest. Each egg can be up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and weigh 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms)!
Pileated WoodpeckerMarch 01, 2014 – The pileated woodpecker is one of the largest woodpecker species in North America and its look is unmistakable—a large black bird with white on each side of its neck and a red crest on its head. When it flies, white flashes are visible under its wings. The sound of the pileated woodpecker's hammering carries a long distance through the woods where they live. They drum to attract mates and to establish the boundaries of their territory—warning other males away. They use their beaks to peck and dig under bark to find carpenter ants, beetle larvae, and other insects and will often dig large, rectangular holes in trees to uncover their meals. Some holes are so big that they weaken small, young trees. The birds also strip pieces of bark from trees looking for food. Generally, however, pileated woodpeckers help keep a forest healthy by eating wood-boring insects. A nesting pair of pileated woodpeckers usually makes a nesting hole in a large, older tree. During the day, both parents take turns incubating, or sitting on, the eggs to keep them warm. At night, only the male incubates the eggs. They generally lay four eggs at a time, which take about two weeks to hatch.