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Past Shows

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Life Improved for Penguins in Argentina

Professor Dee Boersma, working with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Province of Chubut, has been studying the Magellanic Penguins of Argentina. "In 1983, we realized that oil pollution was really a huge problem for these birds. We were seeing birds coming ashore, covered in oil. We... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Songbirds: The Large and Small of It

The group of birds called “songbirds” — the perching birds — is incredibly broad. Half the world’s 10,000 birds are in the songbird group, and their range of body sizes is mind-boggling. One of the smallest songbirds in North America is the Golden-crowned Kinglet, barely larger than a hummingbird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, ornithology

Saw-whet Owls Hoot and Hoot

Northern Saw-whet Owls are common in forests across southern Canada and the northern U.S. In early autumn, many move southward, making a large concentration especially in the region of the Great Lakes. To our ear, the "advertising call" of the male, made mostly in spring and summer, sounds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Chipping Sparrows

The begging calls of male baby Chipping Sparrows mix into what is known as "subsong," a sort of infant babbling. And, very quickly, subsong begins to change to imitations of adult songs. Next spring, when the young male returns for its first breeding season, it will settle in near an older male.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Meet the Blue Jay

If we had to pick one bird’s voice to symbolize our Eastern woodlands, the Blue Jay’s voice would likely be it. And as a frequent visitor to back yards and bird feeders, the Blue Jay is among the most recognized birds of the region. Nearly a foot long, Blue Jays can be loud and assertive when... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound

Hazel Wolf

The writer Paul Bowles said, “Nothing just happens. It depends on who comes along.” For the Audubon Society in Washington State, that “who” was Hazel Wolf. She was a labor activist, environmental campaigner, and life-long champion of causes she believed in. From 1969 until 1997, Hazel Wolf... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, history

Starlings Say It With Flowers

European Starlings regularly adorn their twig nests with marigolds, elderberry flowers, yarrow leaves, and even willow bark — all of which are full of aromatic chemicals, which fumigate their nests and are thought to discourage pests and parasites. Scientists discovered that starlings hatched in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Galapagos Penguins and El Nino

University of Washington professor Dee Boersma is concerned about Galápagos Penguins because of the increased frequency of El Nino. So Dee's team and their partners at the Galápagos National Park recently built about 120 "penguin condos." These are lava burrows near the coast, most between half a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, nesting

Here Come the Merlins

Smaller than a pigeon — but fierce enough to knock one from the air — are the powerful, compact falcons known as Merlins. Climate change is pushing ranges of many birds farther north, but more and more Merlins have been nesting farther south, in towns and cities across the northern United States.... read more »

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A Virginia Rail on Michigan Avenue

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – with towering glass skyscrapers and fancy boutiques – is the last place you’d expect to see a bird that normally hides in freshwater marshes. Yet, during migration, secretive Virginia Rails like this one pass over the city at night. That is, until they hit a building... read more »

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