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Past Shows

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Birds and Robots

One of the things airplane pilots worry about most is birds colliding with their planes, possibly causing an accident. Preventing bird strikes is a serious concern. Many airports resort to killing birds that might pose a threat. But the airport in Edmonton, Alberta, has found a more humane... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

One Square Inch of Silence

Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, seeks those rare places untouched by human noise, where birds and nature create a complex, quiet music. In the Hoh Valley, in a rain forest in Olympic National Park, is a place he calls One Square Inch of Silence. It’s the least noise-polluted place in all of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, recording

Roadrunner

The Greater Roadrunner is a common species in the desert and brush country of the Southwest, but its full range reaches from California to western Louisiana. Its soft cooing voice hints at its connections to another bird: scientists group roadrunners with the cuckoos. Where to see a roadrunner?... read more »

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Birdsong Therapy

Where some noises — like TV, traffic and random conversations — can make it hard to concentrate, birdsong may make it easier. In Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, the sweet sounds of birdsong carry along the hallways. In an Amsterdam airport, a lounge plays bird sounds to help... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Singing Like a Bird and Feeling Good

Every now and then, don’t you just want to belt it out? Imagine singing like a Black-headed Grosbeak! Or what about a Carolina Wren? Picture warbling like a House Finch. All this just too rambunctious for you? The call of the American Bittern more your style? Or this Yellow-headed Blackbird?... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, sound

Bonaparte's Gull Chorus-line

Small, tern-like Bonaparte's Gulls often form a chorus-line at the water's edge. Side by side, in half an inch of water, they stomp their feet as fast as they can. Under this pummeling, a smorgasbord of shrimp is stirred up for the gulls to harvest. Is this a learned behavior, or were these gulls... read more »

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Solon Towne and the Meadowlarks

Over a century ago, a Nebraska man — an audiologist by training — named Solon Towne “collected” the songs of meadowlarks. According to his daughters, he’d saunter about their farm, listening carefully. Then he’d hurry back to his desk to transcribe the birds’ songs into musical notes. To help him... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Wilson's Warbler near Summer's End

By early August, the rich yellow of the feathers of the Wilson's Warbler seems to flash in every forest thicket. Despite predators and weather, many pairs of adults have raised four young, which now flit about on their own. The young males hatched this spring learned their father's songs this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Vermilion Flycatcher

What’s the reddest bird in North America? In the East, the Scarlet Tanager or maybe the Summer Tanager. But neither is seen nearly as often as the Northern Cardinal. In the Southwest, another candidate pops out like a bright red flare on the tip of a branch: the Vermilion Flycatcher. This dashing... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

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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