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Past Shows

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Dry Tortugas Archipelago

From a bird's perspective, the Dry Tortugas, a cluster of islands in the Gulf of Mexico, can be a life-saver. Millions of migratory songbirds fly north across the Gulf and Caribbean each spring, headed for North America. If they run into heavy wind and rain blowing down from the continent, the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Thieving Magpie?

Rossini’s 1815 opera, The Thieving Magpie, tells of a household maid who nearly goes to the gallows for stealing silver from her employers. At the last instant, it’s revealed that the thief was actually a magpie. The opera was so popular in its day that it’s believed to have helped cement the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Female Blackbirds Choose Their Mates

One male Red-winged Blackbird’s marshland territory may include five—or even as many as fifteen—nesting females. And he makes an effort to mate with every one of them. Biologists call this polygyny - when one male claims breeding rights with multiple females. But while this may look like the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Making a Home Among the Saguaros

In the arid Arizona desert, where cacti thrive but trees are scarce, the Gila Woodpecker and this Gilded Flicker carve out nest cavities in living saguaros. Tall, old saguaros may be pocked with twenty or more nest holes, bearing witness to decades of woodpecker families. The woodpeckers excavate... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Unlikely Places to Go Birding

Birding is often best in the least likely places. At sewage treatment plants, watch for ducks and gulls - and raptors keeping watch over them all. Another place might be your local landfill or dump. The Brownsville, Texas dump was, for years, the only place in the US you could find this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Spring Migration Across the Globe

Each spring, millions of birds head north. From Ecuador, beautiful Scarlet Tanagers fly to the eastern US and Canada, many traversing the Gulf of Mexico, an arduous journey. Across much of southern Europe, Common Nightingales – small thrushes with russet feathers – are arriving, having traveled... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Birds Dress for Spring

It's spring! And for many birds, a time to look their best to attract a new mate. This American Goldfinch has recently molted. Its old, worn-down feathers have fallen out, and new ones have grown in. When goldfinches molt in the fall, they lose these brightly colored feathers. Their winter... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Sidney Wade - Blue

April is National Poetry Month in the US, and to celebrate, we're featuring some of our favorite poets who write about our feathered friends. Today, in this extended podcast, we're sharing the work of poet Sidney Wade, professor emeritus at the University of Florida. Her most recent collection of... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Sound Escapes - The Next Best Thing to Being There

Take a trip to the Hawaiian Islands with BirdNote with our new podcast Sound Escapes. We’ve teamed up with Gordon Hempton to bring the world’s sonic landscapes to your ears. This show is made possible by Jim and Birte Falconer of Seattle, the Bobolink Foundation, Idie Ulsh, and the Horizons... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  recording

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