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Past Shows

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Common Redpoll

The tiny Common Redpoll, one of the smallest members of the finch family, weighs only as much as four pennies, yet it survives the cold and darkness of winter in the far North. Most birds depart in autumn to warmer climes. But redpolls feed on birch and alder seeds that are available throughout... read more »

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Birds in the Winter Garden

Put your winter garden to work as a haven for birds. Leaves and brush left to compost provide foraging and roosting places, smother this year’s weeds, and feed next spring’s plant growth. Watch for juncos and towhees in the leaf litter, and wrens in the brush. Maybe even a Song Sparrow, like this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

The Stealthy Shoebill

Deep in the dense, remote swamps of Central Africa lives the Shoebill, a massive, blue-gray stork-like bird, standing up to five feet tall. The bird takes its name from its large bill, which is shaped like an oversized Dutch wooden shoe. Although the Shoebill may look comical, its beak is no joke... read more »

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Spooky Shearwaters

Some early sailors, visiting remote Pacific islands, surely feared that the ungodly wailing on shore meant they had been tricked to the gates of Hell itself. In truth, they stood among courting pairs of seabirds called Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. These birds nest on islands in the tropical Pacific... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Ring-necked Pheasants in the Wild

The Ring-necked Pheasant is likely the best-known bird in North America that isn’t native to the continent. Indigenous to Asia, Ring-necked Pheasants were introduced to Oregon in 1881. The birds thrived in rural landscapes for many years, but modern industrial farming practices have diminished... read more »

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Ptarmigan Toes

With its rubbery-sounding rattles and clownish red eyebrows, the ptarmigan is quite the stand-out northern bird. As winter approaches, the ptarmigan’s feet grow feathers, and its claws grow longer. All that added surface area means the ptarmigan practically has its own set of snowshoes.Today’s... read more »

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What the Pacific Wren Hears

What does the Pacific Wren hear in a song? It's a long story. What we hear as a blur of sound, the bird hears as a precise sequence of sounds, the visual equivalent of seeing a movie as a series of still pictures. That birds can hear the fine structure of song so acutely allows them to convey... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Clean Nestboxes in October

It’s a wistful moment when your backyard birds — like these Black-capped Chickadees — depart their nestboxes. By October, it’s time for one last duty as nestbox landlord: to clean it out. Cleaning will reduce the incidence of parasites in the box and make it more inviting to next spring’s tenants... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Purple Martins Head South to the Amazon

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow that nests in the US and Canada. During fall, Purple Martins from western North America migrate to a distinct wintering area in southeastern Brazil — a travel distance of more than 5,000 miles! Scientists believe that Purple Martins started out as a South... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Geese in V-formation

Autumn…and geese fly high overhead in V-formation. But what about that V-formation, angling outward through the sky? This phenomenon — a kind of synchronized, aerial tailgating — marks the flight of flocks of larger birds, like geese or pelicans. Most observers believe that each bird behind the... read more »

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