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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18 €(TVA Incluse)
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2 min
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…

2 min
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…

3 min
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…

3 min

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 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…

4 min
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…

2 min
moving the needle

Most birders pick up a pair of binoculars to appreciate an avocet or raven. Nicky Fijalkowska takes a different tack: She grabs a pair of needles and a ball of yarn. The United Kingdom-based knitting designer has a knack for turning endless strands of wool into mini replicas of birds. The members of her growing aviary include puffins and owls, and they owe their finely stitched field marks to a lifelong obsession. Growing up, Fijalkowska sketched birds in her parents’ garden and took trips with the Young Ornithologists’ Club. Knitting, on the other hand, didn’t come so naturally. “I tried it as a teenager, but I always made clothes that never fitted and I ended up hating,” Fijalkowska says. She didn’t pick up her needles again until her late 30s, after swine…