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Past Shows

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Tallgrass Prairie

Tallgrass prairie, a sea of grass, once stretched from Manitoba to Texas, a landscape of almost unimaginable natural abundance. Heading west, Lewis and Clark came upon savannahs as far as the eye could see, covered with herds of bison, elk, pronghorn, and deer. Only a tiny fraction of the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

The Song of the Woodlark

Woodlarks are birds of the rolling heathlands and forest glades of southern England, as well as other parts of Europe. Like most kinds of larks, Woodlarks are all but impossible to spot on the ground. Fortunately, they sing from the air, as they fly in graceful, circular patterns, their warbled... read more »

Tony Angell, on a Feeding Frenzy of Gulls

Naturalist, sculptor, and illustrator Tony Angell writes: "It was early summer and I looked across the open sea. Its surface gently heaved, suggesting the presence of some great being stirring within. ... In the bay below, a gang of a hundred gulls swirled, surged, and plunged into a herring ball... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  reflection

Loons Go Fishing

You're fishing on a northern lake, when a black-and-white shape torpedoes under your boat. Alerted by the sound of your reel, a Common Loon follows the trout in hot pursuit. If the fish is small, the loon may take it right off the end of your line. If you succeed in bringing the fish to hand, the... read more »

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Scarlet Tanagers Under the Canopy

In summer, the forests of the eastern United States are home to a bounty of birds, including this gorgeous Scarlet Tanager, which spends most of the year in tropical South America. The male’s body is a dazzling red, in contrast to his black wings and tail. It seems that these boldly colored birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching, plumage

Tiniest Bird on the Continent

The tiniest bird in continental North America: the Calliope Hummingbird - a 3-1/4-inch jewel, weighing in at just a tenth of an ounce. These birds migrate north each spring from Western Mexico. From its perch, a male Calliope Hummingbird surveys its territory. This exquisite bird was named for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Kipukas and Akis

One of Hawaii’s rarest forest birds is this ‘Akiapola’au. Some of the roughly 1,000 'Akis left on earth live and breed in kipukas on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii’s largest active volcano. A kipuka is an island of native forest surrounded not by water but by recent lava flows - a green... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  history

Wood Ducks Succeed

Your eye may be drawn to the gorgeous male Wood Duck, but it is the call of the modestly plumaged female you’ll hear. This call tells the male where his mate is, important as the pair stays together through much of the winter and spring. Wood Ducks are among a small number of North American... read more »

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Precision Flight in Flocks: How Does It Work?

A flock of shorebirds flying wingtip to wingtip seems to act like a single organism, rolling and twisting in exquisite patterns. Flocks like these use a combination of two organizational patterns. One is a “cluster”: lots of birds flying together in a loose, three-dimensional cloud. The second is... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  behavior, flight

Kakapo Boom Through the Night

The Kakapo is a large, flightless parrot unique to New Zealand. Hoping to attract females, several males gather in a “lek.” They sing at the same time, and their deep-pitched notes carry a long distance. Females may wander in from as much as a mile away. This booming competition goes on for... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display

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