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Past Shows

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The Marsh Wren's Many Nests

Tiny Marsh Wrens live in wetlands, usually within cattails, reeds, or bulrushes. After choosing his territory, the male weaves up to 15 dome-shaped shells, lashing together cattails, grasses, or reeds. These are called "courting" nests. Then, sitting high atop a perch in the marsh, he sings,... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Gulf Oil Spill - One Year Later

Sound recordist and photographer, Gerrit Vyn, went with a crew from the Cornell Lab to film and photograph birds in the Gulf of Mexico right after the Deep Horizon oil spill in April 2010. They visited the marshes and the barrier islands that host amazing concentrations of pelicans and terns and... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration

Sharp-tailed Grouse Dance

Dawn breaks over grassland in the northern Midwest and a dozen male Sharp-tailed Grouse, gathered closely together, face one another in a rough circle. Suddenly, as if in response to a movie director's call for "Action!" the grouse snap into a dance posture. Each bows, holds his wings stiffly... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Winter Wren, Champion Songster

Bubbling, cascading, penetrating - the song of the Pacific Wren bursts from deep within huckleberry bushes and floats beneath tall, cool evergreens. Pound for pound, the Winter Wren of the East and its close cousin, the Pacific Wren of the West, have ten times the sound power of a crowing rooster... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Northern Flicker, Drummer

Springtime brings the sound of a woodpecker - maybe one like this Northern Flicker - drumming on a hollow surface. Members of the woodpecker percussion band announce their territory and attract mates, as they pound away on metal roofs or gutters. Drilling holes in tree trunks calls for some... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Harry Potter's Owls

Many owls appear in the Harry Potter films. Harry's owl Hedwig is a two-foot tall Snowy Owl. (Portrayed as a female, it's actually a male - you can tell because it's pure white.) Ron Weasley, Harry's friend, also has an owl, named Pigwidgeon, a Scops Owl. And the evil Draco Malfoy has as his... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood

Raven and the Winding River

Many years ago, when rivers began flowing from the mountains to the sea, the animals couldn't agree on their course. Raven wanted the rivers to turn and wind, so that as he flew up and down them, he would have different views at every bend. Mink disagreed. The loud and raucous Raven convinced the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  myth

The Crafty American Crow

Crows. Large, black, noisy. The raucous birds of the neighborhood. Some people love them; others aren't so sure. American Crows are crafty and resourceful. Crows have adapted to our modern world. For one thing, they, too have a taste for fast food. Watch for crows at your local fast food joint.... read more »

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Swans Benefit from Bob Heirman Wildlife Park

In the late 1970s in Washington State, bulldozers began mining gravel on the banks of the most productive steelhead fishing spot on the Snohomish River. This raised the ire of Bob Heirman and his local sportsmen's club. They took on Dave Beck, Jr., head of the mining company and son of the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Black-capped Chickadee - Birdbrain?

In spring, the Black-capped Chickadee adds a new vocalization to its repertoire. When breeding season begins, the tiny brains of Black-capped Chickadees and other songbirds enlarge to enable the birds to create more sounds. After the breeding season is over and the birds no longer need that... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

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