This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.
Snowy owls are among the largest birds in North America, but scientists know very little about their behavior. The owls spend most of their days far from humans, hunting rodents and birds in the flat expanses of the Arctic Circle. In the winter, the owls move south, but they don’t usually reach the United States. Most years, only a few are spotted in the northernmost states — a rare treat for birders. But this winter was different.
Photo Credits: Meredith Rizzo/NPR and Courtesy of Jean-François Therrien
Matamoros, Mexico - A home altar devoted to Santa Muerte, a female saint associated with protection and safe delivery to the afterlife. She’s not officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church but her popularity has risen both in Mexico and in the US.(@kainazamaria/NPR)
It might not exactly be doctor’s orders, but it made perfect sense to Josh Sweeney.
"If you hit somebody, you feel a lot better," he says, making his way off the ice from a grueling practice with the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team – a sport also known as "murder-ball on ice."
Sled hockey might be the fastest sport in the Paralympics; players strap on to a tiny sled perched a few inches off the ice, balanced on one double-runner skate. They use two short sticks like ski poles to fly across the ice. Then the sticks flip around, with a hockey blade on the tip. Players can switch the puck quickly between left and right, and shoot from either side.
The Paralympic movement started with disabled veterans after World War II. Today, there are many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in Sochi with the U.S. team; Sweeney is one of them.
Photo Credit: David Gilkey/NPR
As Garcia’s, a restaurant and store in Matamoros, Mexico, you can buy a pistol-shaped bottle of tequila. (Steve Inskeep / NPR)
Interesting find by the reporting crew on the US-Mexico border.
Photos: Elyse Butler for NPR
In a joint investigation, reporters Kelly McEvers (NPR) and Megan McCloskey (ProPublica) find that America’s effort to bring home its war dead is slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.
Another NPR Visuals production! Check it out.
That’s the mouth of the Rio Grande. The foreground is the United States. The far shore is Mexico, where fishermen cast nets in the water. It’s so close we could smell the meat they’re grilling over there. From this spot by the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve begun a 1,900-mile journey along the entire US-Mexico border, all the way to the Pacific coast. We’re looking for tales of crossings - people, goods, and even culture that have leaped that surprisingly narrow barrier from one side to the other. Of course we’ll be crossing many times ourselves. Producers Nishant Dahiya and Selena Simmons-Duffin, photographer Kainaz Amaria (who took this image) and I will be sharing impressions of our journey over the next two weeks on On the Road, and we’ll begin broadcasting on Morning Edition and other NPR programs in late March. You’re welcome to cross over with us. (photo @kainazamaria/NPR)
Our awesome team member, Kainaz, is reporting with Morning Edition at the US-Mexico border. Follow along on their journey: nprontheroad.tumblr.com
FISHERFOLK - NEW ENGLAND
The hardihood of the fisherfolk and the sailors is still evident, and the mores of an insular colony remain constant. Manhood, for instance, is determined not by legal age but by the first fishing trip. When a stripling passes this initiation, he takes to smoking a corncob pipe and is recognized as a man, no matter what his age.
—Rhode Island, A Guide To the Smallest State (WPA, 1937)
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Michael Cevoli is your Guide to New England. He was born and raised in Norfolk County, Massachusetts and now lives and works on the water in the seafaring town of Warren, Rhode Island. He’s a commercial and editorial photographer and you can follow his work on Tumblr, or on his website.