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Past Shows

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Surfing with Scoters

Surf Scoters are perfectly at home in the element they’re named for. They swim smack in the middle of what surfers call the impact zone: Just where the waves break with greatest violence. Why risk the harshest waves when there’s calmer water close by? Because the churning action of crashing waves... read more »

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Voices and Vocabularies - Eastern Bluebirds

A male Eastern Bluebird stands on a wooden nestbox attached to a fence post. The bluebird’s song – and his alert presence - assert his claim to this territory. In the mid-20th Century, the numbers of bluebirds in the Northeast declined to the lowest level ever, due largely to nesting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Little Blue Heron, Light and Dark

Two herons, one dark, the other white, feed at the edge of a wooded pond in the South. Both birds are Little Blue Herons. What's going on here? Well, the white bird is a juvenile. These young herons forage with flocks of Snowy Egrets, which stir up prey. The white immatures mix readily with the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Vernal Equinox

Today marks the Vernal Equinox. And birds are singing in the new season. Listen to the sounds of the Greater Prairie-Chicken, Limpkin, Vesper Sparrow, Black Scoter, Horned Lark, Sandhill Crane, Western Meadowlark, Black Oystercatcher, and Western Screech-Owl.Today’s show is brought to you by... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Swallows of Capistrano

Every year, the change from winter to spring brings millions of Cliff Swallows from Argentina to North America. Since the early 1800s, swallows had returned, year after year, to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano. But during a restoration project in the 1990s, the venerable mud nests were removed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Pigeon Babies Do Exist

Rock Pigeons are one of the most common urban birds. But why do we never see baby pigeons? Some baby birds - like down-covered ducks, geese, and chickens - leave their nest shortly after hatching and do a lot of growing up while following their parents around. Others, like pigeons, depend on... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Green Birds on St. Patrick's Day

You'd think that with so much green in nature, many birds would be a'wearin' the green for camouflage. Not just on St. Patrick's Day, but every day. Yet very few of our birds cavort in Irish green. There be some wee exceptions, however - some of the hummingbirds, with their backs of bright green,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Voices and Vocabularies - Clever Chickadees

Few backyard birds are as beloved as the Black-capped Chickadee. The boldly patterned chickadee is perky, trusting – and it seems to introduce itself by calling its name – chick-a-dee. But when a chickadee voices its namesake call – using a host of variations – it’s most likely maintaining... read more »

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House Finches - Red and Yellow

House Finches eat many kinds of seeds and fruits. A careful look at male House Finches at a feeder shows that, while most males show red feathering, some are decidedly more orange - and some even yellow. House Finches acquire their coloration from pigments known as carotenoids in the foods they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Elf Owl

By late February or March, Elf Owls depart Mexico to breed in the US. These miniscule owls weigh less than an ounce and a half — a bit less than a golf ball. During the breeding season, Elf Owls live in woodlands and desert cactus habitats from southwest Texas into southern Arizona. And they’re... read more »

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