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Past Shows

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Why Some Birds Sing in the Winter

By late January, some resident birds, such as the Northern Mockingbird, are beginning their spring singing. When you step outside on a particularly sunny day this winter, a Fox Sparrow like the one pictured here may be warming up for the coming spring. And as far north as British Columbia,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Wingspan - A Stealth Ecology Lesson

The board game Wingspan came out this year to a lot of buzz. The bird-themed game is fun — but it’s also having a surprising impact. It’s gotten nonbirders hooked on birds. And it’s also gotten birders hooked on board games. Meanwhile, everybody’s learning something!For more great stories, check... read more »

The Majestic Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcons are the largest falcons in the world, with a wingspan of almost four feet and weighing almost five pounds. The name “Gyrfalcon” derives from an Old Norse word for “spear.” During the summer, you’ll find Gyrfalcons on the tundra, where they feed on arctic birds. But in the winter, some... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

Birds and Bird Conservation Matter - Interview with David Yarnold

We asked David Yarnold, President of National Audubon, why bird conservation matters. He says that preserving wild places and preserving the links in nature's chains allow wildlife to thrive. Where birds thrive, you're going to have clean water and clean air, and that's good for kids, and it's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

The Pecking Order

Birds in flocks almost invariably develop a pecking order. An alpha chicken can peck any other in the flock, and a beta chicken can peck all others but the alpha bird. Juncos and other small birds have a pecking order, too. The pecking order - or dominance hierarchy - of a flock of birds is... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

American Bittern - Thunder-Pumper

American Bitterns nest in marshes across the northern half of the United States and throughout much of Canada, and they winter along both US coasts south into Central America. But in some places, bitterns are in serious trouble. Much of the extensive, shallow marshland they once bred in has been... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Why Birds Stand on One Leg

Birds' legs have an adaptation called "rete mirabile" that minimizes heat loss. The arteries that transport warm blood into the legs lie in contact with the veins that return colder blood to the bird's heart. The arteries warm the veins. Because the veins also cool the arteries, the bird’s feet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Are Northern Forest Owls Coming South This Winter?

The boreal forest stretches across Canada and Alaska, a huge expanse of woods, wetlands and wilderness. And it’s full of magnificent forest owls that depend on mice and other rodents for food. Those populations can boom and bust, so in lean years, hungry owls often fly as far south as the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

Wingspan Takes Flight

The goal is to attract birds to your aviary by collecting things they like to eat. Your birds are worth points, and they score you more points when they lay eggs, gather food, or do other bird-y things. As you study your birds’ powers and strategize your next move, you’re getting a stealth... read more »

Encounter with a Cassowary

In a tropical woodland in eastern Australia, you glimpse a Southern Cassowary, a huge flightless bird that must rate as the most prehistoric looking of all birds. Cassowaries are capable of making remarkable sounds, including the lowest known bird call in the world, barely audible to the human... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

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