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Cerebral Songs

Douglas Robinson has “some kind of filing system in his brain that lets him readily access bird vocalizations even when he hasn’t heard them in years.”

The Mystery of the Disappearing Birds

Once upon a time Barro Colorado Island was a mountaintop, rising from the trackless rainforest that carpeted the Isthmus of Panama. Its deep-green slopes hosted pumas and jaguars and more than 200 species of birds.

Avian Nations

Birdlife in Oregon is as diverse as its landscape. Species range from tiny and whimsical (such as the rufous hummingbird hovering on 2-inch wings to eat nectar from wildflowers) to huge and pterodactyl-like (such as the soon-to-be-reintroduced California condor, which once soared on wings 9 feet wide, searching for carcasses to scavenge).

A Moveable Feast

When Dan Roby floated the idea of relocating 18,000 seabirds in 1999, there was a lot of eye-rolling among wildlife experts in Oregon. “No one believed it would work,” says Roby, an ornithologist at Oregon State University specializing in marine species.

The Seabird Connection

Fish-eating seabirds like the common murre — which nest in the rocky intertidal zones along the coast — can give scientists clues to the status of native finfish by how they behave.