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Past Shows

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Environmental Success at Long Beach - Patrick Comins

We're on Long Beach West on Long Island Sound, with Patrick Comins. Thousands of migratory shorebirds - including Dunlin like these - stop over here on their long migratory journeys. But this ecological gem could have been lost. Good news! Today it's part of the Stewart B. McKinney National... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Beaks and Bills

A bird’s bill is an incredible multi-tool — good for preening feathers, building a nest, self-defense, scratching, displaying, building a nest, and egg-turning. And a bill must be the right size and shape for the bird’s diet, whether that’s probing for worms, cracking open seeds, or tear apart... read more »

Carol of the Birds - With Nancy Rumbel

To celebrate the season, Nancy Rumbel, who composed and played the BirdNote theme music, performs "Carol of the Birds." This version was arranged by Nancy herself, with the accompaniment of Pine Siskins, Black-capped Chickadees, a Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, House Finch, American... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

Winter on the Columbia

A stiff December breeze blowing down the Columbia River delivers an exhilarating chill. A stretch of river near Bridgeport, in north-central Washington, is held tightly by a series of dams, creating massive lakes - lakes which, in winter, harbor thousands of water-birds. High on an overlook, a... read more »

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Earthworms - A Superfood in Cold Storage

This American Robin has caterpillars and an earthworm in its beak. But which food source is the real prize? Everyday earthworms are higher in protein than beef or chicken. You’d have to eat about a pound of soybeans to equal the protein in just three ounces of earthworms. They’re also high in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Geese Launching at Bosque del Apache

In winter, flocks of wintering Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, and Sandhill Cranes stop at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Just before sunrise, the geese are a mass of kinetic and potential energy, like a symphony orchestra tuning up for a big performance. Hunger might launch... read more »

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Long-distance Champions of Migration - With Scott Weidensaul

Arctic Terns are the long-distance champions of migration. Thanks to satellite transmitters and geolocators, we know that some Arctic Terns travel more than 50,000 miles annually! Scott Weidensaul, naturalist and author of Living on the Wind, says these technology tools “make the issue of bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Carrier Pigeons Go to War

In World War I, carrier pigeons were crucial in relaying messages from the front to positions behind the lines. The most renowned was Cher Ami - or Dear Friend - flown by the US Army Signal Corps during the Battle of Verdun in France. The message Cher Ami carried on October 4, 1918, was vital in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

The Cardinal: A Southerner Moves North

Holiday cards often feature gorgeous red cardinals against a snowy landscape. So it’s easy to assume the birds have always been a colorful presence in bleak Northern winters. But cardinals used to be Southern birds. By the second half of the 20th century, though, they were nesting as far north as... read more »

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William Turner and the First Bird Book

The first printed bird book, The Principal Birds of Aristotle and Pliny, was published in 1544. Written by the English physician and naturalist William Turner, the book is noteworthy for its inclusion of Turner’s personal observations — a real innovation at a time when ancient authorities held... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

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