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Past Shows

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How Humans Affect Competition Among Birds

Evolutionary time is long — the earliest ancestors of birds emerged around 50 million years ago. Against that yardstick, the length of time humans have been living in cities is a blip. But that blip has resulted in huge changes for urban birds, crows in particular, as John Marzluff explores in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Song Sparrow in your Brush Pile

Song Sparrows are found throughout the United States and into Southern Canada. To bring them into your garden, plant thick, low vegetation, or create a brush pile. This sparrow is celebrated - and named - for its singing. Without its melodious song, this furtive bird could be overlooked, since it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

Turkey Calling - Real or Unreal

Preston Pittman won his first turkey-calling contest when he was only 16, and he makes the sounds with his mouth. Sadler McGraw uses the "friction" technique. He pulls a "striker" - almost like a screwdriver - across a crystal surface. It sounds for all the world like a Wild Turkey, and it won... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, vocalization

John James Audubon Birthday

April 26th is the birthday of John James Audubon - flamboyant, groundbreaking artist, dedicated observer, adventurer, and writer. John James Audubon grew up in France, but moved to Philadelphia at 18. Embracing the natural wonder of his new homeland, Audubon set out to paint all the birds of... read more »

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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nests in the open country of Texas, Oklahoma, and the south-central region. An elegant bird of pale silver-gray, with a slender, deeply forked tail longer than its body, it has stunning, vivid salmon-pink flanks and underwings. Agile in flight, it can spread and fold... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

American Robin, Valiant Challenger

The male American Robin - fiercely territorial - belts out its distinctive cheery song to defend its breeding territory from invasion by other robins. Sometimes, the robin sees its own reflection as an interloper and challenges the “invader” over and over, even to the point of exhaustion or... read more »

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Spring Rain Refreshes a Desert

Springtime in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern California. Cacti and wildflowers glisten with raindrops, and birds begin to sing. A House Finch, a Bewick's Wren, a Cactus Wren, a Mourning Dove, and this Costa's Hummingbird all add their sounds.The soundscapes featured in today's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

In Celebration of Earth Day

The populations of some birds have declined dramatically ... more than 80% in the past 40 years. Here are a few: the Northern Bobwhite, the Evening Grosbeak, the Northern Pintail, and the Boreal Chickadee. Common Terns ... like this one ... migrate along both coasts and through the interior to... read more »

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Kinglet Fireworks

Most of the time, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet is neither ruby nor regal. A tiny songbird washed in faded olive-green, the male shows a hint of crimson atop of his head — hardly a ruby crown. But don’t forsake the kinglet for flashier birds. When courting a female or dueling with another male, the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

High Island - Migration on the Gulf

If you're near High Island, Texas in the spring, you might witness a "fallout," one of the great spectacles of bird migration. Thousands of birds, including Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, orioles, Painted Buntings, and warblers of all kinds, as well as tanagers and Indigo Buntings, like this one, drop... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration
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