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Past Shows

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Extinction and Islands - Interview with George Wallace

Hawaii has more bird species in danger of extinction than anywhere else in the United States. George Wallace of American Bird Conservancy explains that a long period of evolution in isolation gives rise to specialized island species. Birds that nest on the ground don't have any natural resistance... read more »

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Living Alone on Earth

September 2007 - The last 40 years have witnessed the dramatic decline of many common American birds, including Boreal Chickadees, like this one. New York Times essayist Verlyn Klinkenborg writes, "...we seem determined to discover whether we can live alone on earth. Harvard biologist, E.O.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Cygnus the Swan

The story of Cygnus the Swan constellation, from Greek mythology: Phaeton, unable to control the chariot of the sun, careens wildly though the heavens, scorching the earth. The god Zeus strikes the impetuous charioteer with a bolt of lightning, causing him to fall headlong into the river. His... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Hummingbirds at the Border

Thousands of hummingbirds - including these Ruby-throats - are now in southward migration. Hummingbirds that summer in the western US will arrive in the mountains of southern Arizona. (Ruby-throats take a more easterly route.) Countless hummingbird feeders provide continuous nectar in this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Chimney Swift Roost

Scores, perhaps hundreds, of Chimney Swifts whirl in a flock, then form a funnel-shaped cloud above a chimney. Now they begin to descend, first one - and finally hundreds - swirling down into the chimney. Each bird drops inside and catches onto the rough interior, where it will hang until morning... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Bird-friendly Glass - Interview with Christine Sheppard

Why, when birds have such exceptional vision, do hundreds of millions die every year by slamming into glass windows? Christine Sheppard, who manages the Bird Collisions Campaign for American Bird Conservancy, explains: "Birds don't see glass. ... People don't see glass either, but people... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Hawaiian Goose - New Hope for the Nene

On the grassy edge of one of the ponds at Hanalei Wildlife Refuge, we find a Nene -- or Hawaiian Goose -- a small goose found nowhere else but Hawaii. The Nene is the only state bird that is also an endangered species. Once common in the Hawaiian Islands before the first humans landed here, they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Great Snipe - Fastest Long-distance Migrant

One summer, Swedish ornithologists attached tiny tracking devices to ten Great Snipes. A year later, they found that one bird had flown from Sweden to Central Africa, a distance of 4,225 miles, in just three and a half days. Several bird species are known to fly faster than 60 miles per hour, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, migration

Short-tailed Albatross Chick Survives Tsunami

In January 2011, a pair of Short-tailed Albatrosses produced their first chick on Midway Atoll. Never before had this endangered bird bred outside of Japan. But in March, while the parents were foraging at sea, the tsunami that struck Japan also reached Midway, washing the chick off its nest.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Condor #23 and Lead

California Condor #23 is the hero of the California Condor Restoration Project. The project has worked for 30 years to reintroduce captive-bred condors into the wild. Number 23 and his mate were the first released condors to successfully raise a chick on their own. Yet today, #23 sits alone. Two... read more »

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