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Past Shows

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Gerrit Vyn on the Lammergeier

Sound recordist and photographer, Gerrit Vyn, spent two years in the Peace Corps in the mountains of Lesotho. He worked with a chief named Ntate Letsie in the village of Selemong. His people believed that the Lammergeiers, or Bearded Vultures, that nested on the cliff near their village preyed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

The Pungent Mudflat

On the shore of a saltwater bay, the tide goes out, revealing a broad expanse of dark, glistening mudflat. Mudflats are rich in nutrients, such as decomposing organic matter and minerals. Far from wastelands, mudflats also support a bounty of life including vast quantities of tiny snails and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Birdsong Wanes with the Season

By this time in September, most migratory birds have departed. Many resident birds remain, but their voices are now quiet. During fall and winter, birds don't need to sing to establish a breeding territory or attract a mate. Many songbirds lose the ability to sing. The part of the brain used for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science, vocalization

Do Penguins Blush?

Humboldt Penguins living along the Pacific Coast of Chile and Peru are adapted to cold. But on land, temperatures rise to 100+ degrees, and penguins need to cool off. So these penguins have pink patches of bare skin on their face, under their wings, and on their feet. On hot days, the patches... read more »

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Ravens and Crows - Who's Who?

Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped or triangular.... read more »

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Bee Hummingbird

The Bee Hummingbird, found only in Cuba, is the smallest bird in the world. An absolute miniature, even among hummingbirds, it measures only two and a quarter inches long. Often mistaken for bees, they weigh less than a dime. The female builds a nest barely an inch across, and lays eggs about the... read more »

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Vivaldi's Goldfinch

Bird song caught the ear of Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. And he even named a 1729 flute concerto for a bird — the goldfinch. The source of inspiration for Vivaldi's Goldfinch concerto, or Il Gardellino, was the European Goldfinch, a tiny bird found throughout much of Europe, where it... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  music

Laughing Kookaburra

The voice of the Laughing Kookaburra is so distinctive, it's one of the best known sounds in nature. Its exotic call has been a Hollywood standard for decades, that unseen creature in the depths of the jungle, with heroes ranging from Tarzan to Indiana Jones. Kookaburras are hefty members of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Genetics and Migration

Scientists have found that, at least for some species, a bird’s genes dictate the route it takes when it migrates. For instance, when subspecies of Swainson’s Thrushes interbreed and produce hybrid offspring, those young birds may take mom’s route north and dad’s route south or zigzag between the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

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

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