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Past Shows

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The Wood Thrush and Eastern Forests

The rich, fluting song of the Wood Thrush floats through an eastern deciduous forest. Unfortunately, forests at both ends of their winter and summer range are being cleared for pasture, agriculture, mining, and housing developments. We can help Wood Thrushes and forest birds everywhere by... read more »

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Grosbeaks' Beaks

Black-headed Grosbeaks and Evening Grosbeaks belong to entirely different families of birds. Both groups evolved oversized bills for opening tough seeds. The Black-headed Grosbeak is closely related to the cardinal, while the Evening Grosbeak is close kin to the goldfinch. The common name they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology

Eagles and Murres

While the Bald Eagle may be the biggest story of conservation success in the 20th century, it's made life tough for some colonial seabirds. All the eagles have to do is soar by the cliff, and it causes panic, scaring birds off their nests. Then gulls and crows swoop in and get the eggs. The... read more »

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Seabirds and Ocean Upwelling

The breeding success of seabirds along the North Pacific coast, like these Common Murres, depends on the timing of seasonal winds. Spring winds from the Gulf of Alaska cause the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water. But if the upwelling is delayed, seabird breeding suffers. Warmer temperatures... read more »

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Singing with Meadowlarks

No song epitomizes the open spaces of the American West like that of the Western Meadowlark. Indeed, the song of the Western Meadowlark can be rightly acclaimed the essential musical theme of much of the West. It's a bird of grass - and sage-lands, fields and pastures, meadows and prairies - a... read more »

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Ruffed Grouse: Splendid Drummer

The male Ruffed Grouse stands on a resonant fallen log in the shelter of a brushy thicket, thumping the air with his wings. He raises them and - cupping them forward - beats the air, slowly at first, then faster, creating a reverberating drum roll. This announces his territory and his desire for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

The State of the Birds on Kauai

The native birds of Hawaii, like birds of many island groups, have been hit hard by human-induced changes. This Kauai O'o, a forest bird, has not been seen in 20 years. Its bell-like song once rang widely through the mist-shrouded rainforest. There may still be time to save other birds. Read... read more »

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The Bushtit vs. the Elastic

BirdNote listener Catherine Alexander recently told of watching a Bushtit, in search of the perfect bit of stuff for its nest. It found a tattered, old sock, hanging from a tree. The Bushtit grabbed a frayed bit of elastic and pulled. The elastic held strong. Bushtit pulled. Elastic held. The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, listener story

The Jackass Penguins of Africa

African Penguins stand just over two feet tall and weigh up to nine pounds. They nest in burrows six feet deep. The African Penguin now faces severe challenges. But even today, at Boulders Beach near Cape Town, it's possible to walk the beach among these charming birds and hear their obstreperous... read more »

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Swallows Swallow

Roughly 99% of a swallow's diet is flying insects. They gulp down millions of flies, mosquitoes, and agricultural pests, in the course of feeding themselves and their young. The world population of Barn Swallows is estimated to be 190 million. If each ate just 350 insects per day, that would mean... read more »

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