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Past Shows

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Birdwatching - Where to Look

How do birdwatchers identify a particular species? Like fishermen who know how to "read the water," it helps to understand habitat. At a wetland full of cattails, for example, you're likely to find a Red-winged Blackbird, because it requires dense marsh vegetation to nest. If you take notes about... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Black Guillemot, Part 2

To feed their young, Black Guillemots search for food at the edge of pack-ice. In 1972, this was a just short trip from Cooper Island. Now it's more than 25 miles. Unable to find sufficient food close by, they're abandoning their chicks in order to save themselves and try again the next year. The... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Birds Half Asleep, Half Awake

For birds, a brain that can function while literally half-asleep is important to survival. In flocks of birds at roost, those at the outer edge of the flock often have one eye open. Such birds are truly half-asleep: one brain hemisphere snoozes as the other remains awake and alert. The eye... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Limerick Day

May 12 is Limerick Day, the birthday of Edward Lear, author of nonsense verse and limericks. In honor of the day, a limerick written by Dixon Lanier Merritt in 1910: A wonderful bird is the pelican. His bill will hold more than his belican. He can take in his beak, Food enough for a week, I'm... read more »

Topics & Themes:  humor

Interview with Burt Guttman

Do you know someone who's ready to start birdwatching, but is uncertain how to go about it? Burt Guttman, Professor Emeritus of The Evergreen State College, has written a book that can help. In Finding Your Wings, A Workbook for Beginning Bird Watchers, Burt explains: Find a good place. Get a... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Do Birds See Color?

Have you ever wondered if a hummingbird can recognize colors other than red, or if other birds see color? What about this male Scarlet Tanager? Some male birds literally shimmer with brilliant colors-the Wood Duck and peacock, for instance. But color is probably lost on nocturnal birds, which may... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Woodcock's Sky Dance

It is an ancient music. The mating song of the male American Woodcock. To hear it, step out into the dusk of a quiet spring evening in the Connecticut countryside. In the twilight, or in the moonlight, you may hear him more than see him spiral high in his sky dance. The air rushing past his wing... read more »

Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Sizing Up Birds of Prey

In most birds - if the sexes vary at all in size - the male is larger. But with many hawks and falcons, the pattern is reversed. And female birds of prey are most notably bigger than males among hawk species that hunt agile prey, such as other birds. Perhaps the female Cooper's Hawk's larger size... read more »


Northern Harrier and Barn Owl

Teetering and gliding not far above the ground, this Northern Harrier - formerly called a Marsh Hawk - scans the marsh grass for voles. If you return to the marsh at night, the harrier will be gone, and it's a Barn Owl you might see, also hunting voles. Although one's a hawk and the other an owl,... read more »


Eurasian Collared-Doves Expand

In the Bahamas, in 1974, the Eurasian Collared-Dove escaped from captivity and began to breed in the wild. By the late 1970s, the doves had flown west and colonized southern Florida. As their numbers grew, the doves expanded into rural and suburban areas, moving quickly in a northwesterly... read more »