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Past Shows

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To a Green Leaf, by Victor Scheffer

Dr. Victor Scheffer, biologist and BirdNote adviser, died this past September, at the age of 104. At the age of 100 he wrote a reflection, To a Green Leaf (abbreviated here). - "With the coming of frost and the long nights, you will die and fall to the ground. Your rusty brown remains will be... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Lessons from a Career in Seabird Research - Interview with Julia Parrish

We asked Dr. Julia Parrish what lessons she has learned from 20 years of studying seabirds such as Common Murres. Lesson #1: Everybody can get out there and experience nature. It helps to define who you are and your part in the world. Lesson #2 is a conservation lesson. We have lots of impacts on... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Christmas Bird Count 2011

In the year 1900, the holiday season was approaching. With that would come the Christmas "Side Count," when, by tradition, you'd go out and shoot as many birds as you could. But a birder named Frank Chapman proposed that people go out and count birds, instead. Today, the Christmas Bird Count is... read more »

Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

When Birds Ruled the Earth

A bird known as Titanis walleri made its home in Florida just a few million years ago. Titanis, as its name suggests, was titanic indeed - a flightless predator, ten feet tall, with a massive hooked bill. Titanis and other birds related to it belong to a group some paleontologists call the ... read more »

Topics & Themes:  fossil, science

Birds and Dinosaurs

What is the connection between the blood-curdling roar of a Tyrannosaurus rex and the gentle song of a robin? A recent bonanza of fossils has intensified debate over how contemporary birds are linked to the extinct dinosaurs. The evidence and theories are complex. Many experts now believe that... read more »

Topics & Themes:  fossil, science

Precious Poop

Seabird poop, known as guano, has been used to enrich soil, to make gunpowder, and believe it or not, as a skin treatment. Bird poop is a valuable commodity. South America's Pacific Coast has some of the world's largest deposits of guano, from species including the Peruvian Pelican, the Peruvian... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history, humor

Stability and Change in Nature - Interview with Julia Parrish

For two decades Julia Parrish of the University of Washington has studied the seabirds - like this Common Murre - of the Pacific Northwest Coast. What are her conclusions after 20 years? "I have been so often surprised and proved wrong. I'll have a concept or hypothesis, make a prediction about... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Bald Eagles and Common Murres - Interview with Julia Parrish

For 20 years, Julia Parrish of the University of Washington has been studying seabirds on the Pacific Northwest coast. During this time, the population of Bald Eagles has rebounded. What does the growing eagle population mean for Common Murres? When an eagle flies over a nesting area of murres,... read more »


Tom Pincelli, a.k.a. "Father Bird"

Father Tom Pincelli is a Catholic priest known to many as "Father Bird." He's a birder and conservationist in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas. One of his favorite birds is this Green Jay. The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival starts today. Can't make it to Texas? There may be a... read more »

Topics & Themes:  festival, gardening

Paul Bannick - Getting to Know your Subject

Paul Bannick, naturalist and wildlife photographer, gives this advice: Most of the work of taking a photograph is done in advance, and it involves both research and field work. Learn as much as you can about the habitat. Pay attention to the landscape, where the light comes from. And strive to... read more »

Topics & Themes:  photography