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Past Shows

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Northern Spotted Owl

A Northern Spotted Owl hoots from deep within a Northwest forest. We know the Spotted Owl best as an unwitting symbol of an ongoing political and economic struggle. We've seen its dark eyes peering from the pages of a newspaper. A Spotted Owl stands about a foot-and-a-half tall. It's adapted to... read more »

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How the Robin Got Its Name

When English settlers in the New World encountered the American Robin, they saw in it a reflection of the bird they knew as the Robin in the old country. So they called this one a robin, too. Today the American and British Ornithological Unions together determine how a bird is named. For a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology

Why Are Blackbirds Black?

Why are blackbirds black? One possible answer is that black is conspicuous against just about all of Nature's backgrounds. Blackbirds, like this flock of Red-winged Blackbirds and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, feed on the ground. Whenever a predator approaches, they take flight. Coming together... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Habitat Restoration on the Gulf

The natural habitats of the Gulf Coast are critical to birds migrating between North, Central, and South America. With the BP oil spill, restoring Gulf-coast habitat has taken on new urgency. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program is restoring habitat and rejuvenating the maritime... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Southbound Swainson's Hawks

At 9,000 feet in the Manzano Range in New Mexico, HawkWatch International counts and bands raptors making their way south along the Rocky Mountain front. Some, like this Swainson's Hawk, fly all the way to the pampas of Argentina. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Environmental Success at Long Beach - Patrick Comins

We're on Long Beach West on Long Island Sound, with Patrick Comins. Thousands of migratory shorebirds - including Dunlin like these - stop over here on their long migratory journeys. But this ecological gem could have been lost. Good news! Today it's part of the Stewart B. McKinney National... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Northern Pintail - Elegance and Decline

In recent years, unlike many other North American ducks, Northern Pintails present a portrait of sharp decline. Pintails nest in grasslands near seasonal wetlands. Increasingly, these grasslands are being plowed up to grow crops such as corn. But people who love pintails are responding. Ducks... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Which Jay Was That?

The Steller's Jay is a jay... and it's blue. But it's not a true Blue Jay with a capital "B." The bona fide Blue Jay is primarily a bird of the East. Both are smaller cousins to the American Crow and the Common Raven. And the Blue Jay and the Steller's Jay have similar personalities. Like their... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Scaup Disappear

Twenty-five years ago, there were twice as many scaup in North America as there are today. Starting in 1986, non-native zebra mussels spread rapidly throughout the Great Lakes. And scaup love to eat them. However, zebra mussels and other shellfish accumulate contaminants, including selenium, from... read more »

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Little Brown Birds

So many little brown birds look the same. They might be sparrows, or wrens, or finches, or something altogether different. And you often find them together in winter. Learning to tell these "LBBs" apart can be really frustrating for novice birdwatchers. Birds such as wrens, finches, and sparrows ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

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