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Past Shows

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A Bird of Two Colors

Related to shearwaters and petrels, the Northern Fulmar will eat just about anything it finds on the surface of the ocean, from fish and squids to dead whales. Fulmars are polymorphic, that is to say they come in more than one color. This difference is independent of sex and age. The reason for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

John Burroughs II

John Burroughs, one of the masters of American nature writing, wrote "The birds do indeed begin with the day. The farmer who is in the field at work while he can yet see stars catches their first matin hymns. In the longest June days the robin strikes up about half past three o'clock..."... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Song of the Kauai O'o

The sweet, bell-like tones of the Kauai O'o were heard for the last time nearly 20 years ago. The native birds of the Hawaiian Islands, like birds of many island groups, have been hard hit by changes wrought by humans. At least 90% of the bird species driven to extinction in recorded history have... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording, sound, vocalization

Birds Carry Plants to Hawaii

Three-quarters of Hawaii's native flowering plants probably come from seeds that hitched rides with birds. The bird-borne seeds that sprouted in Hawaii evolved into more than a thousand new species. The most likely seed-carriers were undoubtedly strong fliers, such as plovers or tropicbirds -... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

How the Steller's Jay Got Its Crest

The Makahs tell a story about how the bird we know as the Steller's Jay - the bird the Makahs call Kwish-kwishee - got its crest. The mink, Kwahtie, tried to shoot his mother, the jay, with an arrow but missed. Her crest is ruffled to this day. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Former Abundance

On a November day in the late 1960s, flying in a light plane along the Mississippi River, the eminent waterfowl biologist Frank Bellrose came upon a raft of 450,000 Lesser Scaups that stretched for miles. Protection, restoration, and enhancement of habitats used during all seasons are under way... read more »

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Bald Eagles Hunt in Tandem

A Bald Eagle dives suddenly toward the water, huge wings canted, talons outstretched. A merganser floating on the bay is its intended prey, but the duck dives before the eagle can strike. But a second eagle swoops down. After five minutes of repeated passes, one of the eagles plucks the merganser... read more »

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Birders and their Special Places

Some birders specialize in a particular species. Others are drawn to a special place. Michael Hobbs took note when a Lazuli Bunting (like this one) turned up at Marymoor Park, an unusual sighting for Western Washington. Connie Sidles knows when to expect the American Pipit at the Union Bay... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Bird's Eye View II

Some birds, like this Red-tailed Hawk, possess amazingly highly developed eyesight. Just what makes birds' eyes so special, their eyesight so remarkable? It has to do with the muscles that give them an astonishing ability to focus and to change focus. Birds have muscles that carry out both jobs,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Hawkwatch - Chelan Ridge

You're at 5000 feet in the Cascade Mountains. Overhead, a Red-tailed Hawk catches an updraft. The Chelan Ridge Raptor Migration site is the best location in Washington State to see migrating raptors. The U.S. Forest Service and HawkWatch International are partners in a large network of North... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

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