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Audubon MagazineAudubon Magazine

Audubon Magazine

Summer 2019

Audubon is the official magazine of the National Audubon Society. Get Audubon Magazine digital magazine subscription today for news coverage of the natural world. We help our readers appreciate, understand, and protect the environment with a particular focus on birds, other wildlife and their habitats

United States
National Audubon Society
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4 Issues


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catching a ghost

The ghost orchid is one of the rarest and most mysterious flowers in North America. Until recently, scientists could only guess at how the 2,000 or so plants that cling to the trees in Florida’s remote old-growth swamp forests are pollinated—no one had ever documented the event before. Until, that is, the summer of 2018, when photographer Mac Stone used his climbing skills and technical prowess to help solve the mystery from 50 feet up a cypress in the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Ghost orchids prefer swampy, tropical forests and are found in small numbers in south Florida and Cuba. In the Everglades, some hide in the canopy of tall trees, far from human reach. Those closer to the ground may fall prey to poachers, who pluck the delicate flowers from…

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context matters

At Audubon we understand well the power of photographs to tell a story. As this issue was going to press, hundreds of bird species were winging their way over New York City, where Audubon has its headquarters, searching for patches of greenery in the sea of concrete to rest and refuel. Our staff knows this better than most. We headed outside—before work, during lunch, after work—in search of elusive timberdoodles and nemesis warblers. We found them, and then some, under bushes and tucked into trees. But to birds, not all plants have the same value. They evolved with native species, which research shows attract a far greater concentration and variety of insects—critical protein for migrating birds and, eventually, chicks—and more nutritious berries and seeds. That’s why Audubon launched its Plants for Birds…

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become a super advocate

Audubon has shared a passion for birds with its members for decades, together creating lasting conservation change. The banning of DDT and the enactment of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—the oldest and best bird law in the world—are both the result of grassroots organizing by people like you who wanted to make the world better for birds. And thanks to Audubon’s dedicated bird advocates in Arkansas, South Carolina, and Washington, we have three brand new statewide clean energy bills on the books. You may be wondering how your advocacy can have more impact—working with your local lawmakers and other municipal organizations to protect birds and the places they need—but aren’t sure how to do it. We can help with that. Across the country, we’ve been training people to become super advocates—constituents who…

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audubon magazine

Board of Directors Maggie Walker Chair of the Board Susan Bell Vice-Chair David B. Hartwell Vice-Chair Joseph H. Ellis Secretary Karim Al-Khafaji Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Goodby Assistant Secretary Terry L. Root Assistant Secretary Phil Swan Assistant Secretary George S. Golumbeski Treasurer Ajay Shah Assistant Treasurer Jane Alexander Peter Alpert Christian T. Brown Coleman Burke Douglas T. Chang Mike Connor Michele Crist Mary Daugherty Sara Fuentes James C. Greenwood William Heck Kate James Sarah Jeffords J. Drew Lanham Richard H. Lawrence, Jr. Hector E. Morales, Jr. Susan Orr R. Cynthia Pruett Heather Singh Kathy Sullivan Stephen Tan Lili Taylor Art Wang Joseph Watts CEO & President David Yarnold Executive Staff Jose Carbonell Chief Marketing Officer Mary Beth Henson Chief Financial Officer Susan Lunden Chief of Staff Stephen Meyer Chief Operating Officer Sean O’Connor Chief Development Officer David O’Neill Chief Conservation Officer David Ringer Chief Network Officer Rebeccah Sanders Senior Vice President, States Vice Presidents Steve Abrahamson Olga Bellido de Luna Stephanie Cook Natalie Dawson Kevin Duffy Deeohn Ferris Gail Gatton Greg Goldman Sarah Greenberger Jonathan Hayes Julie Hill-Gabriel Chermia Hoeffner Alison Holloran Andrew Hutson Karen Hyun Samaria Jaffe Marshall Johnson Stephen W. Kress Gary Langham Suzanne Langley David Mears Brian Moore Sonia Perillo Karen Profita Sharon Richardson Sarah Rose Rob Schultz Lorraine Sciarra Stanley Senner Heather Starck Renee Stone Kristal Stoner Ana Paula Tavares Brian Trusty Jeff Wells Chad Wilsey Julie Wraithmell Content Jennifer Bogo Vice President, Content Andrew…

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The Silent Majority This spring we published a series on female birders who’ve gone from being participants of the sport to transforming it. For birding to be truly inclusive, more women need to be in charge—and that’s a change we’re finally starting to see with new clubs like the Phoebes (pictured above) in Florida, festivals like the Biggest Week in Ohio, and other initiatives. Read the stories, complete with portraits and interactive graphics, at audubon.org/when-women-run-the-bird-world. RE: “Mixed Blessing” Audubon, Spring 2019 Most traditional Native Americans would only allow feathers that were given by eagles or obtained through the proper authorities. Traditional natives don’t poach or pay for ceremonial items. There’s always a bad bunch in every crowd; don’t stick us all together. FAWN HARRIS Kudos to the Zuni for caring for the injured birds…

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toxic tailwind

Splotchy and olive-brown, with a slight sheen to its shell, a contaminated Herring Gull egg on Lake Erie’s shores looks the same as any other. But under its delicate surface lies a host of toxins that could disrupt the young bird’s life before it begins. Created from a byproduct of the Manhattan Project, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were engineered to be indestructible to water, oil, and heat. Today more than 4,000 forms can be found in products ranging from cooking pans and winter coats to burger wrappers and dental floss. For decades, however, these unregulated “forever chemicals” have also infiltrated lakes, streams, and hundreds of urban drinking supplies. Their pervasiveness doesn’t bode well for organisms that rely on these waters. Fifty years of research has shown high PFAS levels amassed in…