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Past Shows

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Robins and Earthworms: The Backstory

When glaciers pushed south into what is now the U.S. around 20,000 years ago, they scraped off the soil layer and spelled the end of native earthworms except in the southern states. So the earthworm plucked by the robin in the park or on your lawn is probably a relatively new arrival, most likely... read more »

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Boreal Birds Need Half

The boreal forest of North America provides breeding habitat for billions of birds, such as this Semipalmated Plover. But the forest is under pressure. Many boreal birds are declining  — while development and resource extraction are intensifying. Fortunately, there’s an upside. Conservation... read more »

Skylark - With Aretha Franklin

Imagine: Singing for three minutes while soaring to 100 feet in the air, like the Skylark. None of the native birds of North America has such a long song or sings so persistently in flight. Around 1902, Skylarks were brought from England to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to satisfy the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, reflection

The Perfect Nestbox

Many native cavity-nesters - including this Black-capped Chickadee - will nest in a manmade birdhouse, or nestbox. Look for a nestbox that's plain wood. If the birdhouse comes with a perch, remove it. It just makes it easier for a predator bird to land and go after the eggs or young. Here's the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Which Bird Has the Most Feathers

In general, the bigger the bird, the higher the number of feathers. Someone counted the feathers on a Tundra Swan and came up with 25,216. At least 80% were on the swan’s neck. Penguins, on the other hand, have lots of small feathers all over their bodies. The largest species is the Emperor... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Double-Crested Cormorant

Sitting on a piling, wings outstretched, the Double-crested Cormorant looks like a black Celtic cross. Cormorants dive from the water's surface, pursuing prey under water, propelled by powerful webbed feet. The male performs a flashy wing-waving display to show off his colorful head-tufts and... read more »

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People Improving the Lives of Birds

Over the years, BirdNote has paid tribute to people who improve the lives of birds. We find inspiration in the efforts of stewards such as Jim Brown, who’s preserving important habitat for birds such as this Lewis's Woodpecker, along the Clark Fork River in Montana. In downtown Chicago, Annette... read more »

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Osprey Stance

When humans ride a skateboard or snowboard or surf a wave, most prefer the same foot forward every time. A new study finds that Ospreys, too, often exhibit a favorite foot forward in flight.Today's show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation. read more »

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Marbled Godwits

It's April, and godwits are on their way north. They have wintered along the coasts, including the Texas Gulf Coast, and along the Pacific from California to Washington. While most breed in the prairie provinces of Canada, some nest as far north as Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Be sure to watch the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

John James Audubon Birthday

April 26th is the birthday of John James Audubon - flamboyant, groundbreaking artist, dedicated observer, adventurer, and writer. John James Audubon grew up in France, but moved to Philadelphia at 18. Embracing the natural wonder of his new homeland, Audubon set out to paint all the birds of... read more »

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