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Past Shows

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European Starling Nightmare

You can find European Starlings in huge flocks from coast to coast, and from Northern Canada deep into Mexico. Yet not one of these iridescent-black, yellow-billed starlings is native to the Americas. One hundred starlings were released in Central Park in New York City in 1890. From that small,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Birds and Glass - Ovenbird Release

During the migration season, many birds are injured when they collide with glass skyscrapers in New York City. Those that survive may end up at the Wild Bird Fund, the city’s only wildlife rehab center. Good news! In December 2019, the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly in support of new... read more »

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Tune Up Your Ears - West

By March in the West, Song Sparrows and other songbirds that don't migrate are already singing heartily to attract mates. Many other birds - including this Warbling Vireo - will return north from the tropics in April and May, announcing themselves in song as soon as they arrive in nesting areas.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Turkey Vultures on the Move

Before we see or feel spring, we often hear it first — in the testimony of a Red-winged Blackbird, the energy of a Song Sparrow, or the serenade of an American Robin. But across much of North America, an earlier sign of spring is the return of Turkey Vultures. In the US, you may see them as early... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Wetland Birds Thrive

While nearly a third of North American bird species are in decline, many birds that depend on wetlands are thriving. Duck breeding populations in 2009 were an estimated 25% above historical averages. Conditions on the breeding grounds have improved since the drought years of the 1980s, but human... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Birds and Glass - At the Wild Bird Fund

Rita McMahon started New York City’s only wild bird rehab center in 2005. Today, the Wild Bird Fund has grown to see more than 7,000 birds each year. What’s the biggest problem during migration season? Collisions with glass. And New York City has a lot of glass. But there's hope -- and new... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  rehabilitation

Snatching Berries on the Wing

When American Robins gather to pluck berries, you can expect to see a lot of fluttering. The robins are heavy, making it a lot harder to perch and creep along a thin stem. And they have long, strong legs because they spend so much time walking and hopping on the ground in search of food. An easy... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

Birds and Glass - Community Science

Birds do not understand glass. They see the reflection of open sky or trees and fly into windows at incredible speeds. These collisions, in both cities and residential areas, may claim the lives of as many as one billion birds in the US each year. But there's hope! Through programs like New York... read more »

Amazing Pied-billed Grebe

The small, nondescript Pied-billed Grebe has an astonishing talent. The grebe is the master of its own buoyancy. It can squeeze out both the air trapped in its feathers and in its internal air-sacs and sink effortlessly. Learn more about the amazing, sinking Pied-billed Grebe at Cornell's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood

Why Birds Sing

Why do birds sing? Ornithologists have learned that the longer hours of light that come with spring trigger the release of hormones in birds. These hormones prompt the enlargement of the birds' gonads which, in turn, stimulate male birds to sing. Male birds - like this Black-headed Grosbeak - can... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting, vocalization

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