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Past Shows

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Bill Shape Equals Food Source

A fine woodworker has a chest full of tools, each designed for a specific task. Birds also have highly refined tools-their bills. The size and shape of a bird's bill match perfectly the food they seek and the way in which they obtain their meals. Different species of shorebirds that forage... read more »


Flying with Birds - Interview with Gavin Shire

Gavin Shire, Communications Director for American Bird Conservancy, became an ultralight pilot while working with Operation Migration. The project is teaching endangered Whooping Cranes, raised in captivity, the route to migrate between Wisconsin and Florida. The birds are trained to follow... read more »

Topics & Themes:  flight, migration

Ivan Doig on a Birdless World

Seattle resident and renowned author Ivan Doig reflected on a world without birds in his book-length meditation, Winter Brothers (available in the BirdNote store). "A birdless world, the air permanently fallow, is unthinkable. To be without birds would be to suffer a kind of color-blindness.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Klamath Bird Observatory

The Klamath Bird Observatory in southern Oregon uses rigorous methods to understand bird migrations and populations. At sunrise, observers record every single bird they see or hear. They record courtship displays and whether the bird is carrying food or nesting material, or singing to stake out a... read more »

Topics & Themes:  citizen science

How Young Birds Migrate

Millions of shorebirds -- like these Western Sandpipers at rest for the moment-- migrate southward in August. By the time this year's hatchlings have put on their first full set of feathers and plumped up for the journey, their parents have already flown south. How do the novices find their way?... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Native Plants Attract Native Birds

A native garden provides natural, sustainable habitat that welcomes native birds to your yard. Native plants offer sustenance year round: nectar in spring and summer, along with berries and fruits, and nuts and seeds in autumn and winter. They provide shelter from the weather and protection from... read more »

Topics & Themes:  gardening

Osprey Return to Pennsylvania - Interview with Larry Rymon

Ospreys, common along the rivers of Pennsylvania, stopped nesting there in the 1950s, due to the effects of DDT. But in 1980, Larry Rymon, a professor of biology, began to restore Ospreys to Pennsylvania. Larry says: "Osprey have been a part of this planet's wildlife for 17 million years. They... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting, science

Terns of Great Gull Island - Interview with Helen Hays

Helen Hays has been observing and banding the Common and Roseate Terns that nest on Great Gull Island since 1969. She's there with colleagues from the American Museum of Natural History and a host of dedicated volunteers. These terns nearly disappeared when plume-hunters slaughtered them for... read more »

Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

Marbled Murrelet - Interview with Martin Raphael

The endangered Marbled Murrelet is a bird of two worlds. Martin Raphael, a biologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, explains: "It lives in the marine world. But then it nests on the limbs of large, old trees. Its fate is tied not only to the fate of the trees, but also on marine... read more »


Canada Geese Defend Their Territory

Usually sociable, Canada Geese are highly territorial during the breeding season. When faced with interlopers, nesting birds wave their heads from side to side and up and down, honking unceasingly, determined to drive the other birds off. Amidst the honking, you may hear a sound that scientists... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting