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Past Shows

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Woodpeckers as Keystone Species

Woodpeckers - including this Northern Flicker - are master carpenters of the bird world. They're called "keystone" species for their crucial role in creating habitat suited to other woodland wildlife. Abandoned woodpecker nest-holes become nests or roosts for small owls, cavity-nesting ducks,... read more »

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Flammulated Owl

The Flammulated Owl is a study in camouflaged grays and browns, with cinnamon-brown shoulder straps and large brown eyes. This astute aerial predator stands a little more than six and a half inches tall, from its sharp-clawed feet to its stubby, ear-like tufts. It winters in southern Mexico or... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Sneeze of Willow Flycatcher

Willow Flycatchers arrive later than most other migrants, usually at the end of May. They're coming from South America, a long way to fly for a bird that weighs less than half an ounce. A male Willow Flycatcher aggressively defends its territory against other males and soon attracts a mate. Their... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Call of the Loon

The call of the Common Loon brings to mind a summer visit to northern lakes with sunny blue skies. A "yodel" call is given by males on their breeding territories. The call of the Common Loon that we hear during winter is quite different from the breeding call in summer. Common Loons have another,... read more »

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Marsh Voices at Sunrise

In marshes across the country, birds awaken on a summer morning. Tall dense grasses and reeds often make marsh birds hard to see, but their voices carry easily across the lush, green landscape. You can hear birds like the Redhead, the Sora, the American Bittern, the Ruddy Duck, this Yellow-headed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Sapsuckers and Sap

Sapsuckers, a specialized group of woodpeckers, don’t actually suck sap. After pecking neat rows of small holes in trees to cause the sugary liquid to flow, the birds lick it up with tongues tipped with stiff hairs. So why doesn’t a sapsucker’s beak get stuck shut? Part of the answer may lie in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Sparrows Sing in Arizona Monsoon

Midday temperatures in southeast Arizona soar above 100 degrees during the month of July. But relief is coming. A summer monsoon refreshes the Sonoran Desert like a second spring. Grass grows lush, wildflowers spring forth, and birds sing. Cassin’s Sparrows sing their plaintive phrases almost... read more »

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Mountain Walk with Bird Songs

A hike through the mountains of the West, from the lowlands to the rocky alpine zones, reveals an incredibly diverse array of beautiful birds: Swainson’s Thrushes, Pine Grosbeaks, American Pipits and so many more to be found. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, vocalization

Small Birds Mob Big Ones

When smaller birds join forces to ward off larger birds, it's called mobbing. This behavior — like calling your family for help — is used by many bird species. The best time to observe mobbing is spring and early summer, when breeding birds are trying to protect their nests and young. Birds... read more »

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Seabirds Converge from the Ends of the Earth

Off the coast of North Carolina, at the edge of North America’s continental shelf, the seafloor drops more than 12,000 feet. Seabird researcher Tom Johnson says the nutrient-rich waters of this area nurture a wealth of squid and small fish, attracting seabirds such as these Wilson’s Storm-Petrels... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

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