Townsend captured the Oregon dark-eyed junco, above, and the Townsend’s warbler, below, named after him—for now.

Birds Collected Nearly Two Centuries Ago Still Help Scientists Today

The specimens gathered during an illustrious expedition by naturalist John Kirk Townsend continue to provide value to researchers


Ghost of a Chance

How did the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was feared extinct, hang on all these years?


Sage Grouse Strut Their Stuff

The star of one of nature's most spectacular spring shows is losing ground and may be headed for the federal Endangered Species List


The Rarest of the Rare

Scientists at the Smithsonian's Conservation and Research Center have snatched endangered creatures from the brink and redefined conservation biology


The Return of the Elk

Monarchs of the mountain West, they once ranged all the way to the Eastern Seaboard. Now they are coming home


Saving Birds with a Ring and a Prayer

In North America, more than 60 million birds have been banded to help us learn how they live and travel


Tracking America's First Dogs

Carolina dogs, discovered in the Southeast woods, may provide clues to the primitive dogs that arrived with the first humans in America


The Belled Viper

Even hunters of timber rattlers now admit that these snakes are shy, placid — and very fragile

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