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Past Shows

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Blakiston's Fish-Owl

The Blakiston's Fish-Owl is the largest owl in the world. Compared with North America’s largest familiar owl, the Great Horned, the Blakiston's is six inches taller and nearly three times as heavy. No other owl approaches its prodigious girth. But the Blakiston's Fish-Owl is endangered. It's... read more »

Florida Scrub-Jay

Thousands of years ago, rising sea levels isolated much of the Florida peninsula as an island. During that long isolation, a unique oak-scrub ecosystem developed. The Florida Scrub-Jay is one of many special animals and plants that evolved with this habitat. Because they depend on acorns during... read more »

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Black-necked Stilt - The Bird with Outrageous Legs

Visit a shallow wetland in summer, and you might see this slender, black-and-white shorebird with outrageous red legs. The Black-necked Stilt uses its long legs for wading as it feeds on tiny insects and crustaceans on the surface of the water. Stilts are sensitive to drought, which has... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

How Brown Pelicans Dive

Brown Pelicans fly just above the surface of the water. They circle high, then diving headfirst, plunge under water to catch fish. But doesn't that hurt? Several adaptations protect pelicans as they dive. First, they have air sacs beneath the skin on their breasts, which act as cushions. Watch a... read more »

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Birds Talk, People Squawk

Darvin Gebhart is a champion goose-caller. But there are also birds that use human language. Sparkie Williams was a famous parakeet, or budgerigar, that lived in England in the 1950s. He recorded commercials for bird seed and released his own hit single "Pretty Talk." Alex, the African Grey... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, vocalization

Red-tails and Airports

To protect passengers, planes, and birds at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, biologists Bud Anderson of the Falcon Research Group and Steve Osmek capture, relocate, and monitor Red-tailed Hawks. The birds are banded, wing-tagged, and released 80 miles north. Bud says, “Almost none of them come back to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Watching Birds' Behavior

To distinguish one bird from a similar one, watch how the bird moves. Does it flick its wings? Bob up and down? Flip its tail? The White-breasted Nuthatch (right) works its way down the trunk of a tree, while the Brown Creeper works its way up. A field guide usually mentions these behaviors, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Wood-Wrens - A Tropical Duet

Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens sing a duet. Each sings a different phrase, yet the phrases are so closely linked, it sounds like one song. Such singing is called antiphonal song. The pairs use song to stake out and hold breeding territories. Dueting is most typical of birds that live in dense habitats;... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

Cheery American Robin

What was the first bird you noticed as a child? Perhaps you heard the cheery song of the American Robin coming from the top of a nearby tree. Or maybe you saw a robin running and pausing on the lawn, cocking its head before extracting a fat, juicy worm from the ground. The robin is often the... read more »

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Make Your Cloud-watching More Like Bird-watching

When we watch birds in flight, they’re often seen against a backdrop of clouds. Clouds have many different types and are listed in the International Cloud Atlas. The asperitas cloud was first described by citizen-scientists and has now been incorporated into the official atlas. read more »

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