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Past Shows

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Amazing Feet

What looks like feet on a bird are actually its toes. That backward-looking knee is more like an ankle. A bird’s feet are suited to its unique way of living. Eagles capture live prey with long talons, while water birds use webbed feet to guide and propel themselves. And ostriches have two massive... read more »

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The Birds and Plants of Hawaii

Three-quarters of Hawaii's native flowering plants probably came from seeds that hitched rides with birds. Sticky or barbed seeds adhere to the feathers. Other seeds travel in mud caked on a bird's feet. And still others cross the ocean in the stomachs of birds. The most likely seed-carriers were... read more »

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The Eyes of an Owl

Peer into an owl's face – there is something almost human about its large, forward-facing eyes. The Great Gray Owl, which stands two feet tall and weighs 2 and 1/2 pounds, has eyes larger than those of most humans! Enormous eyes enable owls to see in near darkness. An owl's retinal anatomy is... read more »

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Leave the Leaves

To help backyard birds through the winter, do less. Leave the leaves or rake them under plantings. The tasty insects and spiders underneath will be food for the towhee and this Song Sparrow. Don’t deadhead. Pine Siskins and goldfinches love to snack on dead flowerheads. Make an insect hotel out... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

Project FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon, is a window on the birds of winter. Through Project FeederWatch, scientists are able to track the movements of birds - including this Pine Siskin - and understand trends in population and distribution... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, citizen science

American Wigeon

The American Wigeon is a grazer. Its bill is narrow, with a pointed tip like that of a goose. When feeding on water plants, a wigeon grabs a leaf and rips it off with its strong bill, rather than using the straining apparatus typical of dabbling ducks. Take a field trip with your local Audubon... read more »

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The Eagle Eye

Ever heard the term “eagle eye”? An eagle’s vision is incredibly sharp, and its eyes can weigh more than its brain. The secret to the bird’s exceptional vision is the density of visual cells – the rods and cones – of its retina.Support for BirdNote comes from the Port Aransas Tourism Bureau. Home... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, language, science

Get Involved

Go outside this weekend. Feel the wind in your hair. Listen to a bird. Discover a new park. Then get involved! Volunteer to lead your own bird walk. Help build a trail. Or maybe you’re more comfortable around a laptop than a chainsaw – lots of local parks and environmental nonprofits have... read more »

Goldeneyes and Whistling Wings

On a still winter afternoon, you may hear Common Goldeneyes flying low across the water. Whistlers, their wings sibilant, make the sound - as Ernest Hemingway wrote - of ripping silk. Common Goldeneyes nest in cavities, in northern boreal forests.Subscribe to the BirdNote podcast, featuring... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science, sound

Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers

These Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers appear nearly identical, but the Hairy Woodpecker is larger than the Downy, with a distinctly longer bill. And it doesn't have the black spots on its outer tail feathers like the Downy. But even if you can’t observe these spunky birds, you can identify them by... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, birdwatching by ear, sound

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