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4 Videos: Threatened Birds Face Polar Bears, Poop-Sniffing Reporters

As National Geographic this week presents a special series on the plight of threatened bird species around the world, Winged Warnings, we highlight some of our most recent and best videos about species facing extinction.

With fewer than 800 adult Cape parrots left in the wild, National Geographic grantee Steve Boyes is doing his part to save the species. In the video above, Boyes rehabilitates birds that have psittacine beak and feather disease, caused by a virus. Boyes describes this as a particularly nasty airborne virus that destroys the skin and feathers while opening large, painful fissures in the beak that eventually break it apart.

Polar Bears Threatening Birds

Sometimes trouble for one species spells trouble for another. The loss of sea ice is forcing polar bears to search for food on land more often, and that endangers birds, whose eggs become high-protein snacks for the bears. In this video, researchers watch a pair of polar bears eat the eggs from more than 250 nests of eider ducks. And the bears don’t stop with eggs; they eat the birds, too, especially the threatened arctic ducks.


Counting Seeds in Bird Dung 
Investigating a bird species can mean getting up close and personal, and even kneeling down on hands and knees to sniff bird poop. The dung of cassowaries, a huge, flightless, and threatened bird in New Guinea and Australia, is full of digested seeds the birds have eaten and “planted.” Photographer Christian Ziegler and writer Olivia Judson recount how they helped chronicle this bird’s lifestyle for National Geographic magazine


Bizarre Bird Gets a Closer Look
Of New Zealand’s five kiwi species, four are considered vulnerable or endangered. The bizarre-looking, flightless birds have been threatened by both deforestation and invasive predators. At the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, researchers are studying the kiwi to improve zoo habitat and better care for kiwi chicks and adults.



  1. Bryce Rae
    New Zealand
    August 27, 2014, 1:29 pm

    It’s interesting to hear a man in the U.S talk of the Kiwi’s history in a way. Hear it from someone who isn’t a Kiwi himself.
    (New Zealander). Obviously knowledgeable man.