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Past Shows

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The Female Oriole Weaves a Nest

In summer, across much of North America, a sudden flash of orange and black in the treetops usually means one thing: orioles. Baltimore Orioles in the East, Bullock’s Orioles in the West, and Hooded Orioles in the Southwest and California. These vividly colored birds return each spring from... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Why Do Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers Look So Similar?

Generations of birders have puzzled over how to tell Downy Woodpeckers from Hairy Woodpeckers. The two species’ patterns of black and white feathers are so alike that it was long thought they were the closest of relatives. The two live in similar woods, nest in similar trees, and eat many of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  evolution

Most Kingfishers Don't Fish

In North America, kingfishers fish. But in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia, most of the roughly 90 species of kingfishers don’t “fish.” They hunt in woodlands, where the smaller ones, like the four-inch Pygmy Kingfisher, eat grasshoppers and centipedes. Larger kingfishers will... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Bond. James Bond. Birdwatcher.

The real James Bond was born in Philadelphia in 1900 and worked as a banker after college. But his first love was the natural world. Eventually, he kissed the banking world goodbye and dedicated the rest of his life to exploring and documenting birds and nature. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Jazz for the Birds

Birds are an inspiration for many musicians. Before writing “The Penguin,” Raymond Scott probably saw these birds at the Central Park Zoo. Though penguins are clumsy on land, Gentoos like the ones pictured here are the fastest of any diving bird, reaching 22 miles an hour. Speaking of swimmers,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Rock Pigeons: Bobbleheads

A Rock Pigeon bobs its head as it walks, making it appear that its head and feet are linked. Pigeons' eyes are on the sides of their heads, permitting them to watch for predators from all directions, but limiting their ability to distinguish distances. To compensate, these birds move their heads... read more »

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Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

The Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his farm in the 1940s. In his Sand County Almanac, a classic of conservation and nature writing, Leopold brought to life scenes of nature, a month at a time. Field Sparrows aren't as common today as they were in Aldo Leopold's day... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Tracking Birds During Migration

It’s more important than ever to map their travels – to learn when birds take flight, where they stop to rest, and what they require for food and shelter along the way. New tools like advanced weather radar, crowdsourcing, and geolocators are helping us learn more about where birds go and when. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Wrens from North to South

There are nearly ninety species of wrens in the world, and quite a few are exceptional singers. Nearly all of them reside in the Western Hemisphere, with the majority living in Central and South America. The White-bellied Wren ranks among the tiniest, at just under four inches, while the Giant... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Anhingas - Snakebirds

In the black water of a Louisiana bayou, the water ripples where a slender form glides just beneath the surface. It appears to be a snake, but look closer at the long, narrow spike of a beak. It’s a Snakebird, a colloquial name for the Anhinga, swimming with just its head and neck above the water... read more »

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