In this issue: The new Hargila film; counting birds in the Arctic; busting a Snowy Owl myth; a quiz bird; and more!   
 Cornell Lab logo. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Exploring and Conserving Nature

Cornell Lab eNews

January 2022

Video still from Hargila, a film by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Center for Conservation Media about the Greater Adjunct stork.
The Greater Adjutant is the rarest stork in the world. The Assamese name for the bird, hargila, means "bone swallower." 

Watch: A Community Rallies to Save a Misunderstood Stork

Most of the 1,200 Greater Adjutant storks in the world are confined to a last stronghold in Assam, India, where they rely on a single garbage dump for food and two nearby villages for nesting. Hargila tells the story of the world's rarest stork, revealing its unique life history and spotlighting the women in the Assamese villages who helped the birds gain the admiration and support of their human neighbors. Watch the trailer, or the full 28-minute film.

The Stork Sister: Meet the Indian scientist who helped give the Greater Adjutant an image makeover (from the summer 2020 issue of Living Bird.)

Man in winter gear holding a stick and standing in a half-constructed igloo
Clare Kines coordinates the northernmost Christmas Bird Count in North America. Photo by Clare Kines. 

Counting Birds in the Arctic Winter

With sunrise still weeks away, Clare Kines feels lucky anytime he gets more than one species for the Christmas Bird Count he organizes in Arctic Bay Canada—500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. But he also knows the species he finds will be valuable data for science. See what it's like to bird around one of the northernmost human settlements in North America.
Keel-billed Toucan on the tropical Bird Cams camera.
A Keel-billed Toucan samples a delicacy at the Panama Fruit Feeder cam.  

A Colorful and Complete Guide to the Panama Fruit Feeder Cam

Want to get your mind off winter for a few minutes? Here's your chance to get to know all the colorful birds at the Panama Fruit Feeder cam. From caracara to aracari, take a rainbow-hued cruise through all 77 species that have shown up on camera since 2018 with this video field guide. Quiz yourself, or just sit back and enjoy the tropical rainbow
Rock Ptarmigan by Ryan Shaw/Macaulay Library
Our mystery bird this month has feathery feet that act as a perfect combination of warm winter boots and snowshoes. Photo by Ryan Shaw/Macaulay Library.

What Species Is This? 

This hardy grouse nests as far north as there is land in the world and is a master of camouflage. During the snowy Arctic winter, both males and females are nearly all white. The males stay white until they’ve finished courtship, when they intentionally dirty their plumage to hide from predators until they have molted into a safer (though less dashing) brown plumage. Their feathered feet help them to walk on deep snow and to dig snow burrows and tunnels for refuge from severe cold. Think you know the name of this frosty-feathered friend? Check your answer

Should We Be Concerned When Snowy Owls Start Showing Up?

Snowy Owls are appearing in the northern U.S. this winter, delighting birdwatchers and raising the question of why these magnificent birds show up when they do. One common explanation holds that these are hungry birds that can't find enough food. But reassuringly—thanks to the work of two hardy farmers—we now know that's not usually the case. Read the story

2021 By the Numbers: From one billion records in eBird to the launch of Merlin Sound ID, see how your data and participation have helped us increase our capacity for helping birds.

Call for Small-Grant Proposals: The Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative will award $230,000 to as many as 14 projects throughout the country. Deadline is March 1.

Save the Date: The 2022 Great Backyard Bird Count will be held February 18–21. Help spread the word! Promotional posters for this event are now available for download

Register for Upcoming Free Webinars:

Challenge Yourself, eBird Style:

Attend a Bird Festival: It's a great way to learn about birds and meet like-minded people. Many festivals are planning virtual and in-person events—check out our full listings.

Work at the Cornell Lab: Visit our jobs page for current openings.

You Made Our Hearts—and the Birds—Sing!

You Love Birds and We Love You! Thank you video from the Cornell Lab staff.

All we can say is: thank you! In the final weeks of 2021, your friendship and the generosity of thousands of Lab supporters kept us soaring. Thanks to you and our dedicated community, we’re well on our way to making 2022 a year of vital discovery for birds and conservation.

To show our appreciation, we put together this special video celebrating you and some of our favorite feathered friends (you’ll also get to see some faces from our work behind the scenes). We hope you enjoy—thank you again for all you do for the birds we love!

American Wigeon by Daniel Irons/Macaulay Library.

Bird Academy

Ducks and waterfowl are all around us, and this is a great time of year to watch them. Are you confident identifying them even when they’re on the other side of the pond? For waterfowl, the two most important things to look for are shape and color pattern. Try this quiz and test your ID skills!

Cover of Winter Bird Highlights 2020-2021, ed-bellied Woodpecker on a feeder.

Insights from Project FeederWatch 2021

As you settle in to 2022, take a look back at the highlights from last season's Project FeederWatch. See what trends were revealed for the birds in your region. And whether you have a feeder station or simply a landscape that attracts birds, there's still time to sign up to participate in this year's count
Cornell Lab Publishing Group, December 2021. Tap to visit the Cornell Lab Publishing Group website

Ring in the New Year

Ring in the new year with the Cornell Lab Publishing Group and take 15% off puzzles—including new seasonal puzzles—plus children's books, field and pocket guides, and everything else sitewide. Use Promo Code NEWYEAR, valid through February 5, 2022.

The Cornell Lab Publishing Group wishes you and your family a healthy and safe 2022.

Birds of the World

Expertise from the global ornithological community combines with observations and multimedia from eBird and the Macaulay Library to make Birds of the World an unparalleled resource for studying birds. Check out one of nine free sample accounts, including Shining Sunbird

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

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