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Past Shows

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An Evening in Sapsucker Woods - With A.A. Allen

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the world. In 1958, Arthur Allen, the lab’s founder, described An Evening in Sapsucker Woods: “There is a charming spot in the Finger Lakes country of central New York that we know as Sapsucker Woods. Friends have... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, recording

Trust and Partnerships Help Birds in Montana

Conserving habitat for birds like this Red-naped Sapsucker isn’t easy. It requires knowledge, respect, and partnerships. Jim Brown, who was instrumental in establishing an Audubon Important Bird Area along 25 miles of the Clark Fork River in Montana, explains: “Most landowners are quite... read more »

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July before Dawn - Aldo Leopold

The song of this Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his Wisconsin farm in the 1940s. Sadly, Field Sparrow populations are declining rapidly. You can learn more about "The State of the Birds" from National Audubon, and the plight of the Field Sparrow in particular. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, reflection, vocalization

Birds and Baseball

At the crack of the bat, a Blue Jay flies toward first and glides around the base. Deep in left field, an Oriole pounces on the ball. He wings the ball toward second, where a fellow Oriole snares it on a hop - just as the swift Blue Jay slides toward the base in a cloud of red dust. Ahh, summer... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sports

Message of the Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove was named for the male's gentle voice, which may sound forlorn. Mourning Doves are common in suburban environments and along roadsides, adapting well to human habitation. On a warm, lazy, summer afternoon, the dove's voice seems to speak more of serenity than sadness, and of a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Birds' Early Warning Systems

A frantic cacophony of loud, rapid birdcalls tells other birds there’s a predator on the prowl. It’s called “mobbing” as birds clamor and dart — back and forth — at the threat. An ongoing study of mobbing and other bird warning behavior suggests that some birds listen in on the warnings of other... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Why Do Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers Look So Similar?

Generations of birders have puzzled over how to tell Downy Woodpeckers from Hairy Woodpeckers. The two species’ patterns of black and white feathers are so alike that it was long thought they were the closest of relatives. The two live in similar woods, nest in similar trees, and eat many of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  evolution

Waterfalls, Caves, and White-collared Swifts

A flight of White-collared Swifts, huge swifts the size of small falcons, wing their way toward a small waterfall in Southern Mexico. Flying up to 100 miles per hour, they slice right through the waterfall into the cave beyond. White-collared Swifts are found from Mexico to Brazil. By day, they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, nesting

Gaping Blackbirds

Gordon Orians describes an unusual adaptation in blackbirds called gaping: "...the ability to forcibly open the bill against some pressure, so that a bird can push its bill into the base of a grass clump, and forcibly open it, which reveals the insects that may be down hidden in the base. ...... read more »

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Birds Need Water in Summer

Summer is a crucial time to keep your backyard birds supplied with water for drinking and bathing. Birdbaths set at different heights serve a great variety of birds. A wide, shallow birdbath that deepens a bit in the center will suit a broad range of birds - including this Orange-crowned Warbler.... read more »

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