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Past Shows

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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

Sound Escapes - Find Yourself in Nature

Sound recordist Gordon Hempton thinks our thoughts and our actions echo the place we’re in. So if we’re in a noisy city, we’ll be noisy ourselves. But, Gordon says, “When we go to a place that is nature at its most natural, I think we find ourselves being who we are.”Today, we're on the Zabalo... read more »

The Most Abundant Birds in North America

By August, most birds in North America have finished nesting, bringing billions of new birds into the world. So many birds. It might make you wonder: what is the most abundant bird in North America? read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, science

Sky Dancing - A Rare Sight

Out in the arid West, miles north of Winnemucca, a small caravan of birdwatchers searches for raptors along a distant ridgeline of basalt and sage. Nearby, a circle of green, created by pivot irrigation, attracts Northern Harriers that hunt over fields and marshes. Then, field trip leader Harry... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Band-tail, Pigeon of the Woods

Band-tailed Pigeons are found mostly in low-altitude forests. Though about the size of city pigeons, they can be shy and sometimes hard to see. Strictly a bird of the western states, the Band-tailed Pigeon is decreasing in numbers. This is probably because the forests that the pigeons depend on... read more »

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Advice to Beginning Birders from David Sibley

David Sibley, creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, offers this advice for learning to identify birds such as this Warbling Vireo: “Spend time at home, paging through the field guide . . . by flipping through the pages of the book and looking at pictures and reading the names, you... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, environmental champion

Swallow or Swift?

At a glance, swallows and swifts, both graceful fliers, look much alike. But swifts — like this Chimney Swift — have longer, slimmer wings and short bodies, enabling them to glide for long periods. Their glides are punctuated by rapid, stiff bursts of wing-beats. Swallows, on the other hand, flex... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching, flight

Woodpeckers Love Ants

Woodpeckers, as a group, eat far more ants than most other birds do. Many other vertebrates tend to avoid ants because of their stings or because of the noxious chemicals they contain, like formic acid. But woodpeckers just love them. A Pileated Woodpecker’s diet may be up to 50% ants! read more »

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What Audubon Saw

Over the course of John James Audubon’s life, even in the 1800s, he noticed how quickly people were changing the wilderness. Today, hundreds of local, state and national Audubon societies fight for birds and the environment in his name. read more »

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