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Black-crowned night herons average about 2 feet in length and weigh nearly 2 pounds. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

The black-crowned night heron is one of the rarest birds in Illinois. Lincoln Park Zoo now hosts a colony of more than 600 herons, but things have getting a bit crowded. 

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Red-headed woodpeckers collected near the Des Plaines River in Cook County, Ill., in 1901 (top) and in Braidwood, Ill., in 1982 (bottom). (Courtesy of Carl Fuldner and Shane DuBay)

Researchers analyzed 1,000 birds collected over the last 135 years by the Field Museum and other institutions to track the amount of soot in the air of Rust Belt cities. 

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(Courtesy Chicago Zoological Society)

The colorful bird who lived to the ripe old age of 83 had a global fan base and seemed to enjoy being the center of attention. A year after his death, Brookfield Zoo is set to unveil a statue in his honor.

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(Joseph Mietus / Flickr)

Thousands of birds are killed or seriously injured each year in Chicago after colliding with buildings because they fail to see reflective or transparent surfaces. Here’s what you can do to help.

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(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)

A trio of newly arrived birds is making noise – lots of it – inside Lincoln Park Zoo’s Dry Thorn Forest exhibit.

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A duck found dead in the Chicago River. (Courtesy of Friends of the Chicago River)

Dozens of mallards have been found dead over the past month in multiple locations along the Chicago River, marking what one expert says is the largest occurrence of birds dying in the river in decades.

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(Chris Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo)

The zoo’s newest residents are being hand-reared by keepers, and scientists will analyze their genetics as part of an international species survival plan.

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Aje, a 2-year-old male penguin at Lincoln Park Zoo. (Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo)

For the first time, Lincoln Park Zoo is offering visitors a chance to get up close and personal with their African penguins. We meet three waddling, webbed-feet bachelors.

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(Lincoln Park Zoo)

Lincoln Park Zoo recently launched a web series to chronicle the latest crushes, power struggles and other dramatic twists and turns surrounding the lives of its 15 African penguins.

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(Lincoln Park Zoo)

Visitors can expect snow flurries on their next trip to the zoo, even in the middle of summer. Four snowy owl chicks hatched last month are already flapping their wings and will soon attempt to fly. 

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(Courtesy of Peggy Macnamara)

‘The Peregrine Returns’ is not just a story of recovery, but adaptability, exploring how the cliff-dwelling bird has made a home in an urban environment.

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A warbling vireo photographed at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary by Rob Curtis.

Here’s something that might surprise you: The best place in the entire state of Illinois to see birds during their spring migration is in the city of Chicago. 

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An update to our March story about bald eagles returning to Cook County.

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Dead birds collected by the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors were given to the Field Museum's Bird Division. (Josh Engel / The Field Museum)

For migrating birds, Chicago can be a dangerous place. But scientists, architects and volunteers are now teaming up to make the city a leader in bird-friendly design. The story is told in WTTW's online series “Urban Nature.”

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(Tanya Martinez / Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources)

Experts in Chicago are working to save one of the world’s most endangered birds. 

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In the early 1960s, bald eagles were nearly extinct in the lower 48 states. But government protections and conservation measures have had a huge impact on their numbers. “I think it’s an incredible success story,” said biologist Chris Anchor.