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Past Shows

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In Seattle, Scrub-Jays Are Here to Stay

California Scrub-Jays are moving north up the Pacific coast of North America. The crafty birds join a number of other corvids, the crow- and jay-like birds, that already call the Pacific Northwest home. As climate and weather change and human development continues, birds everywhere are on the... read more »

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Snowy Egrets - Killer Hats

Today you’ll find Snowy Egrets in the south and central United States and in remnant wetlands along the Atlantic coast. But once, they were rare. During the late 1800s, millions of birds – including Snowy Egrets – were killed annually to adorn the hats of fashionable ladies. Outraged citizens... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Jaegers Give Chase in September

A tern or gull plunges headfirst into the water, then bounces aloft grasping a small fish in its bill. But before the bird can swallow its catch, a Parasitic Jaeger swoops in. The jaeger nips the bird's wing, and it drops its hard-won fish. The pirate catches the fish in mid-air and gulps it down... read more »

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A Bird Migrates South, Step by Step

Wood Thrushes migrate more than 2,000 miles each way, between their summer breeding territories in the US and Canada to where they winter in Central America. During migration, the birds will fly for hundreds of miles at night, then stop for days or weeks to refuel. In the spring, they’ll head... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Ducks - Diving and Dabbling

Autumn brings many species of wintering ducks and seabirds to our waters. Watch carefully. Some dabble along the surface, feeding along shallow edges of lakes and estuaries. Others dive under the water, using their feet and occasionally their wings for propulsion. The male "dabblers" are often... read more »

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Why Do Dippers Dip?

Why does the American Dipper dip? One possibility is that the dipper's repetitive bobbing, against a background of turbulent water, helps conceal the bird's image from predators. A second theory asserts that dipping helps the bird spot prey beneath the surface of the water. But this theory about... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Counting a Million Raptors Over Veracruz

A “river of raptors” flows through Veracruz State in eastern Mexico during the month of September. In Living on the Wind, Scott Weidensaul describes his experience counting the birds: “Nothing in a lifetime of birdwatching had prepared me for this spectacle,” he says. “As our sense of numbed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Tree Swallow Roost

As the sun sets over the Connecticut River, as many as 300,000 Tree Swallows gather on the wing in one huge, tightly choreographed flock. With dusk at hand, the aerobatic flock - now shaped like a tornado - swoops down into the tall reeds. It takes but 15 seconds for the 300,000 birds to vanish... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Responsible Birdfeeding

A clean feeder is a life-and-death matter to some birds. To protect the birds at your feeder, clean it at least once a week, more often if necessary. Rake the ground underneath, too. Pine Siskins are especially prone to salmonellosis, a bacterial disease. You can learn more about feeding backyard... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding

What Kind of Music Is Bird Song?

Composers from Vivaldi to Beethoven have been inspired by birdsong. But how similar is birdsong to the music we create? Two recent studies offer contrasting answers. One analysis used nearly 250 song examples of the Nightingale Wren, pictured here, a tropical bird widely admired for its haunting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, science, vocalization

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