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Past Shows

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Nature Prospers in Avalanche Chutes

Avalanches tend to follow historic channels down the face of a mountain, sweeping with them standing trees and boulders, while adjacent slopes remain clad in evergreens. Such natural snow courses are known as avalanche chutes. Soil often remains, creating a new opening for pioneering vegetation.... read more »

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The Harpy Eagle Is a Huge, Powerful Hunter

Harpy Eagles spend their lives in tall, remote tropical forests in Central and South America, flying from tree to tree in search of food. The eagles are named for the Harpies of Greek mythology, women with the bodies of birds who, on Zeus’s command, snatched people from the earth.Since it takes... read more »

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Birds and Navigation

The natural world sends us messages if we’re open to receiving them. Ancient navigators put their trust in the birds’ amazing ability to find dry land, no matter how far they were from safe harbor. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, migration

A Crow That Makes Tools

A crow named Betty learned how to take a straight piece of wire and bend one end into a hook. She then used the hooked end to haul a tiny bucket of meat from the bottom of a long tube. A postage stamp was issued in honor of this New Caledonian Crow. Watch a video of Betty - we've provided a link... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

How Toucans Stay Cool

The Toco Toucan of South America has evolved to stay cool in the sweltering heat of the tropics. Relative to its body size, the Toco Toucan has the largest bill of any bird in the world, accounting for a third of the body’s entire surface area. It’s also laced with blood vessels and wholly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Michigan's State Bird Battle

Since 1929, Michigan’s state bird has been the American Robin. But lots of people think it’s time for a change. The Black-capped Chickadee is a popular favorite, as is the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler. But it turns out that it’s pretty hard to get a state bird changed. read more »

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Matching Birds with Their Habitats

Close your eyes and let’s take a little trip today, from one landscape to another, discovering new birds calling in the wild. Particular birds are tied to their particular habitats. As these natural places go, so go the birds. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Bird Life at the Grand Canyon

With its awe-inspiring vistas and eons of geologic time on display, the Grand Canyon also offers a unique habitat for birds. What you're likely to see first is this Bronzed Cowbird, strutting on the lawn of a lodge or restaurant. Common Ravens call and squabble. If you're lucky, you may spot the... read more »

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Great Snipe - The Fastest Long-distance Migrant

One summer, Swedish ornithologists attached tiny tracking devices to ten Great Snipes. A year later, they found that one bird had flown from Sweden to Central Africa, a distance of 4,225 miles, in just three and a half days. Several bird species are known to fly faster than 60 miles per hour, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, migration

Northern Goshawks and Fire

Among the great firs and Ponderosa pines of Stanislaus National Forest in central California, Northern Goshawk nestlings crowd a platform nest of branches and pine needles halfway up a mature fir tree. In 2013, what’s known as the Rim Fire occurred, and some of the area burned with high intensity... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

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