Audubon Magazine Spring 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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17,66 €(TVA Incluse)
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2 min
adélie penguins after dark

Adélie Penguins gather at the sea-ice edge, waiting for a brave individual to jump—or be pushed—into the water, where leopard seals may be on patrol. If the pioneer survives, the rest will follow, plunging into the frigid Ross Sea to hunt for krill and silverfish. Even as Adélie populations shrink on the Antarctic Peninsula, the Ross Sea population continues to grow. Its 870,000 pairs now make up one-third of Adélies globally, potentially representing the species’ best hope of survival as rising temperatures reshape the continent’s icescape and weather patterns. Climate models project that the region’s ice will persist longer than anywhere else in Antarctica. “Adélies are sea-ice obligate and so as the sea ice goes, so does the species,” says penguin scientist David Ainley. The penguins take full advantage of 24-hour…

2 min
a club for everyone

AT AUDUBON HEADQUARTERS there’s a big red button near the window looking out over a certain water tower. Every few days someone hits it and a “Bird Alert” blasts out to the whole office. A scramble ensues. When the bird perching atop the tower is a Peregrine Falcon, as was recently the case, most of the staff ends up at the window, sharing binoculars and ID tips. We love the geekiness of our bird alert. We love witnessing a raptor stake out its own Manhattan real estate. But most of all we love this little reminder in our day that, however else we might differ, we have this one thing in common: a delight, reverence, and passion for birds. As we explore in this issue, birds foster a powerful sense of community,…

3 min
training the next generation of conservation leaders

AT A TIME WHEN IT’S CLEAR we’re going to face conservation challenges for decades to come, who is responsible for training the next generation of conservation leaders? At Audubon, we’ve welcomed that awesome opportunity and the responsibility that goes with it. Throughout the year, Audubon has between 25 and 30 fellows and apprentices and more than 60 seasonal interns working with our nearly 600 full-time employees. As I speak with these talented young people we’ve hired in areas like science, policy, and communications, one of the things I hear over and over is this: “I didn’t even know this could be a career for me.” That disconnect is real and troubling. Right now, the conservation community is so insular and non-diverse that lots of the young people who could be making our…

4 min
fudging the numbers

LIKE MOST MATH STUDENTS, federal agencies have to show their work when solving a problem. Whether managing public lands or reining in pollution, they’re expected to back up major decisions with a breakdown of the pros and cons for society—and present how data guide every conclusion. The Trump administration, however, has taken a different tack. Instead of following the numbers where they lead, experts say it’s manipulating the math in unprecedented ways to advance fossil fuel interests and harm human and wildlife health in the long term. “I think what this administration does is just a totally different beast,” says Richard Revesz, director of New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity, a nonpartisan think tank. “The analysis they use is outside the bounds of professional judgment.” This tinkering has led to some…

4 min
hummingbird hackers

IN A LAB FILLED WITH SENSORS, circuits, and cables, Alejandro Rico-Guevara has devised what may be the world’s strangest hummingbird feeder. Responding to timed lights and beeps, the hungry guests stick their beaks into a flower-shaped contraption and hover for a beat so a machine has time to gauge their oxygen intake. After, a tiny computer-controlled gate opens to a sugary reward. At least that’s the idea. Getting the setup right has taken months of tinkering, says the University of California, Berkeley evolutionary biologist. “The birds are hardwired to be fast,” Rico-Guevara explains. “We are trying to reverse all these years of evolution with training.” Growing up in Colombia, Rico-Guevara never paid much attention to how gadgets worked; he was always more fascinated by the natural world. But these days, in his…

3 min
doctor whooooo

WHEN A BARN OWL HUNTS IN the dead of night, it displays impressive mental and physical discipline. Superb hearing and vision—the species can see up to 100 times better than humans in low light—mean the raptor notices every leaf rustle and shadow crossing its path. But not all of these sensory details signal a tasty rodent within talon’s reach. As its brain homes in on what’s important, a Barn Owl exhibits something countless humans struggle with: intense focus. For Shreesh Mysore, a Johns Hopkins University neuroscientist who once specialized in artificial intelligence research, the Barn Owl makes a perfect model for investigating how all kinds of animals filter out distractions and target their attention. “If we’re able to get answers to how Barn Owls might solve this problem,” Mysore says, “then we…