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Past Shows

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Drumming with Woodpeckers - East

Early spring in the East resounds with the percussive hammering of woodpeckers. Their rhythmic drumming functions as other birds' songs do, to broadcast over a long distance a clear statement of territory and mating rights. Learn about this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the others in this show -... read more »

Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Who Was Douglas?

Both Douglas squirrels and the firs they call home bear the name of David Douglas. In 1825 and 1826, the Scotsman Douglas tramped and canoed over 6000 miles of the Pacific Northwest, documenting plants and collecting seeds and cuttings. In 1827, Douglas traveled to the Royal Horticultural Society... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history, vocalization

An Adventure on the Skagit

On the Skagit Flats, an hour north of Seattle, dramatic scenes of wildlife unfold every winter. "The flats" are broad, level deltas where the river drains into Skagit Bay. They offer a wildlife panorama with few equals in North America. Immense Bald Eagles stand ready to give chase for a winter... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Nisqually, National Jewel

Mt. Rainier's majestic, snow-capped crown is the pre-eminent landmark of Rainier National Park. Its glaciers and snowmelt nourish rich natural habitats, including the Nisqually Delta, far downstream. This meeting of waters is a lush expanse of marsh, tidelands, and tree-lined streams. The... read more »


Blanket of Snow Geese

Rounding a bend on a snowy river delta in winter, you see farmland covered in white. It seems surreal, as if the artist Andy Goldsworthy has floated a huge duvet across the landscape. Snow Geese, thousands of them! Snow Geese winter far south of where they nest - on Wrangell Island in Russia,... read more »


Northern Spotted Owl II

The plight of the gravely endangered Spotted Owl illustrates the imperiled status of old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest. More than 90% of that forest is gone, a percentage that dwarfs even the worldwide loss of tropical forests and wetlands. Spotted Owls rely on those ancient trees -... read more »


Operation Migration

Unlike many other birds that have an inherent sense of direction and destination, young Whooping Cranes have to learn their migration route from the adults. Enter Operation Migration and ultralight aircraft to lead them on their journey! Fortunately, the young cranes need to be shown the way only... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

How the Turkey Got Its Name

Turkeys were domesticated in Mexico long before Europeans set foot there. After early European explorers colonized Mexico, they took some of the tamed turkeys home with them. But when the bird we today call the "turkey" arrived in England in the 1500s, people got them mixed up with another big... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history

Seabird Crash with Tony Scruton II

Tony Scruton is a sentinel of seabirds; he's on the water at least six times a week, year 'round. He has been closely observing seabirds for more than 30 years. And as he tells it, numbers of murres and scoters - like this White-winged Scoter - have dwindled. There are barely one-tenth of the... read more »

Listeners' Stories: Cardinal and Vireo

BirdNote listener, Betsy MacGregor, talks about finding solace in the company of birds. First a bird of the eastern US, a Northern Cardinal, and then a Hutton's Vireo, a bird of the West. The cardinal creates its pure whistle by producing sound in its left and right bronchial tubes simultaneously... read more »

Topics & Themes:  listener story