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Past Shows

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Sound Escapes - The Song of the Big Island

In the Hawaiian lowlands, most of birds you hear are from somewhere else. But when you get away from the beaches and climb higher, you’ll find the great forest refuges, where many of Hawaii’s native birds still thrive — and where the Big Island’s natural soundscape plays on. You can hear the full... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  recording

Surfing with Scoters

Surf Scoters are perfectly at home in the element they’re named for. They swim smack in the middle of what surfers call the impact zone: Just where the waves break with greatest violence. Why risk the harshest waves when there’s calmer water close by? Because the churning action of crashing waves... read more »

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Dawn Song - Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock..." As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Hummingbirds Are Mighty Puffballs

What bird can fly straight up and down, backward and forward, and even upside down? A hummingbird can do all this -- and fly up to 75 miles an hour. And most amazing of all? This bird can slow from 25 miles an hour to a dead stop in a space no longer than your index finger! Learn more about this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight

Purple Martins Change Their Habits

While Purple Martins west of the Rockies will happily nest in an old woodpecker hole, Purple Martins east of the Rockies rarely nest in natural cavities. Instead, they nest in birdhouses provided by humans. They depend on people to a huge extent and thrive close by their homes. People, in turn,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, nesting

Pacific Chorus Frogs: Harbingers of Spring

On the West Coast, the sound of Pacific Chorus Frogs - also known as Pacific Tree Frogs - signals the arrival of spring. To send their calls into the night, the males swell their throat sacs to three times the size of their heads. Those who hear this chorus can be sure that Rufous... read more »

Little Blue Heron, Light and Dark

Two herons, one dark, the other white, feed at the edge of a wooded pond in the South. Both birds are Little Blue Herons. What's going on here? Well, the white bird is a juvenile. These young herons forage with flocks of Snowy Egrets, which stir up prey. The white immatures mix readily with the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  plumage

Geese Aloft: Flock Voices of March

Geese migrate north between February and April, making stopovers along the way to rest and eat. Most are bound for their breeding grounds in the far north. But we’ll hear them again soon, on their way back south in October. Click play and learn how to tell some North American species apart by... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

House Finches - Red and Yellow

House Finches eat many kinds of seeds and fruits. A careful look at male House Finches at a feeder shows that, while most males show red feathering, some are decidedly more orange - and some even yellow. House Finches acquire their coloration from pigments known as carotenoids in the foods they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

How a Bird Came to Look Like a Caterpillar

The Cinereous Mourner is a small, ashy-gray bird that lives in the forest understory of the Amazon Basin. And it’s taking mimicry to the next level: when viewed from above, lying alone in its cup-shaped nest, its chick is a near match to a highly toxic caterpillar — one that snakes and monkeys... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

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