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Past Shows

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Chipping Sparrows

The begging calls of male baby Chipping Sparrows mix into what is known as "subsong," a sort of infant babbling. And, very quickly, subsong begins to change to imitations of adult songs. Next spring, when the young male returns for its first breeding season, it will settle in near an older male.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Meet the Blue Jay

If we had to pick one bird’s voice to symbolize our Eastern woodlands, the Blue Jay’s voice would likely be it. And as a frequent visitor to back yards and bird feeders, the Blue Jay is among the most recognized birds of the region. Nearly a foot long, Blue Jays can be loud and assertive when... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound

Hazel Wolf

The writer Paul Bowles said, “Nothing just happens. It depends on who comes along.” For the Audubon Society in Washington State, that “who” was Hazel Wolf. She was a labor activist, environmental campaigner, and life-long champion of causes she believed in. From 1969 until 1997, Hazel Wolf... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, history

Starlings Say It With Flowers

European Starlings regularly adorn their twig nests with marigolds, elderberry flowers, yarrow leaves, and even willow bark — all of which are full of aromatic chemicals, which fumigate their nests and are thought to discourage pests and parasites. Scientists discovered that starlings hatched in... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Galapagos Penguins and El Nino

University of Washington professor Dee Boersma is concerned about Galápagos Penguins because of the increased frequency of El Nino. So Dee's team and their partners at the Galápagos National Park recently built about 120 "penguin condos." These are lava burrows near the coast, most between half a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, nesting

Here Come the Merlins

Smaller than a pigeon — but fierce enough to knock one from the air — are the powerful, compact falcons known as Merlins. Climate change is pushing ranges of many birds farther north, but more and more Merlins have been nesting farther south, in towns and cities across the northern United States.... read more »

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A Virginia Rail on Michigan Avenue

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – with towering glass skyscrapers and fancy boutiques – is the last place you’d expect to see a bird that normally hides in freshwater marshes. Yet, during migration, secretive Virginia Rails like this one pass over the city at night. That is, until they hit a building... read more »

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Researching High-flying Bar-headed Geese

Twice a year, Bar-headed Geese migrate over the Himalayas, the tallest mountains on the planet. Flying requires ten to twenty times more oxygen than resting. Yet at this altitude, there’s only half to one-third of the oxygen. Animal physiologist Jessica Meir says these amazing birds utilize “a... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Monk Parakeets

If you live in North America, parrots might seem like exotic creatures. North America’s once-common native species, the Carolina Parakeet, has been extinct since the early 20th Century. But more and more parrots are making this continent their home. Escaped Monk Parakeets now have self-sustaining... read more »

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Chickadees on a Cold Night - Interview with Susan Sharbaugh

The Black-capped Chickadees of Fairbanks, Alaska, endure nights as cold as 40 degrees below zero. Dr. Susan Sharbaugh, a scientist at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has studied them. She says that each chickadee wedges itself into a tiny cavity. Then the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

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