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Past Shows

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In Winter, Puffins Lead Very Different Lives

Every summer, puffins — like this Horned Puffin — grow blazingly colorful layers over the bases of their huge beaks. But in the winter, puffins lead very different lives, and they shed their bright ornamentation. Puffins in winter are largely solitary — and silent. They spend about seven months... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

More Eyes and Ears

A family of dapper Black-capped Chickadees call as they hang upside down, pecking at alder seeds. A wren skulks and buzzes through the underbrush. A petite Downy Woodpecker whinnies nearby. Mixed-species flocks may include a dozen species and more than fifty individuals. More ears and eyes mean... read more »

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How Free Is a Free-range Chicken?

It can be confusing to buy truly free-range chicken and eggs at the grocery store. The next time you’re at the store, take a close look at the labels. Chickens raised for meat or eggs... chickens that spend their days outside pecking for bugs, grubs, and fresh green vegetation... are best known... read more »

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The Music of Black Scoters

Black Scoters are sea ducks that spend the winter on saltwater bays. They are large, strong ducks and buoyant swimmers with a habit of cocking their tails upward. Black Scoters nest each summer on freshwater tundra ponds. Each fall, they can be found on bays all across the Northern Hemisphere. An... read more »

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Fancy Fruit-doves in the South Pacific

Fruit-doves are forest-dwelling doves of the South Pacific found on island groups like the Philippines and New Guinea. There are 54 species of fruit-doves, most about the size of a Mourning Dove or smaller, and they do indeed eat fruit. The combinations of bold colors in fruit-doves are unmatched... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Great Horned Owls Calling

A fledgling Great Horned Owl calls to be fed. Judging from the young bird's persistence, the parents seem to be responding only with calls, not with food. These entreaties can go on for weeks. Both parents let the fledgling know that it's time for him to feed himself. They've been bringing voles... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Bosque del Apache, High Desert Oasis

At this time of year, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is a birder's paradise. The refuge — critical wintering habitat for great numbers of birds — sits where the north edge of the Chihuahuan desert meets the Rio Grande River. Witness the magnificent spectacle of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  festival

Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: Banding Hummingbirds

BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited the outskirts of Big Bend National Park in Texas to meet with Kelly Bryan, a retired park manager and biologist who spends his days placing tiny bands on hummingbirds to better know their habits. Kelly has banded more than 14,000 birds!Funding for the... read more »

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Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: An Oasis for Birds

Carolyn Ohl-Johnson found a home — and a way of life — near Big Bend National Park. BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited Carolyn at the desert oasis she created for birds such as this Rivoli's Hummingbird. But her accomplishment has required tremendous sacrifice. “I haven’t seen my great... read more »

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Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: The Roadrunner and the Baird's Sparrow

In the Looney Tunes cartoon, the Road Runner is potential prey for Wile E. Coyote. But in the real world, the Greater Roadrunner is an excellent predator. BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited Mark Flippo, a retired park ranger at Big Bend National Park, to learn more about the behavior of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

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