The Unusual Way Peregrine Falcons Were Saved From Extinction

Originally appeared on The Awl on October 13, 2017


Teaching peregrine falcons to have sex with hats literally saved the species from going extinct.

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The Red Cloud Indian School of Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Originally appeared on Business Insider on August 26, 2017


The Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the poorest areas in the country. The only place with a lower life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere is Haiti. However, within the reservation, the Red Cloud Indian School is providing a pathway for hardworking Lakota students. Over 95% of their recently graduated Class of 2017 will go on to college, including one student who was accepted to seven Ivy league schools.


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New York City’s Pigeon Hospital

Originally appeared on Sierra Club, May 10, 2017


Pigeons are reviled. At best, they are ignored. “Rats with wings” is the common albeit inaccurate refrain. After all, the disease-carrying rat burrows, hides in shadows, whereas the brilliant pigeon soars. Luckily, pigeons have found an ally in the Wild Bird Fund, New York City’s only wildlife rehab center. Here in the Upper West Side’s ‘bird hospital’, experts and volunteers tend to thousands of injured pigeons a year, while simultaneously helping to repair the bird’s reputation along the way.


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Whales of New York

Originally appeared on Sierra Club, November 14, 2016


Sightings of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in New York City have increased tenfold over the last five years. Paul Sieswerda, who eschewed retirement to create the nonprofit whale-watching advocacy group Gotham Whale in 2011, chalks up their resurgence to a combination of factors, including cleaner waters and growing fish populations. He even knows exactly when the whales arrived.

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These Tiny Wood-Eating Creatures Want To Sink Brooklyn Bridge Park

Originally appeared on Gothamist, September 20, 2016


A cleaner New York Harbor has been a boon to boaters, fishermen, and waterfront-goers of all stripes. Unfortunately, it’s also made life easier for rapacious and destructive creatures that have tormented New York from time immemorial. The harbor’s detox has revived marine borers, tiny but persistent pests that dine on wood and have a particular taste for the load-bearing timber piles that fortify the city’s shoreline. Left unchecked, they pose an existential threat to structures supported by piles.

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The Boogie Down Beavers

Originally appeared on Untapped Cities, July 8, 2016Astor Place Beaver

New York City’s iconography is full of beavers. Two tiny beavers adorn the City’s flag. Beaver Street is one of the city’s oldest thoroughfares. At the Astor Place station on the 6 line, dozens of beavers can be seen carved into the walls. City College’s mascot is Bennie the Beaver. The lumpy little beaver is even the official state animal of New York. What’s probably most surprising however, is that real-life beavers can actually be seen in New York City – specifically on the Bronx River and usually around sunset – busily paddling around, doing their dam thing.

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The Mastodon Uptown

Originally appeared on Untapped Cities, April 20, 2016

Warren Mastodon Skeleton -

New York City has a notoriously hard time holding on to its past. But it’s not just classic architecture and cool dive bars that disappear without a trace. Fossils, too, are easily lost beneath the city streets. Still, thousands of years ago, prehistoric animals roamed the area, including the mighty mastodon (Mammut americanum), an ancient animal with an outsized presence and huge historical significance.

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