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Past Shows

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Brewer's Sparrow, Sageland Singer

One of the most musical and complex bird songs in the US is that of the Brewer's Sparrow. It's a veritable aria, ringing forth from the sagebrush of Eastern Washington's Columbia Basin. Shrub-steppe is disappearing from the interior west as it is cleared for irrigated crops. The quintessential... read more »

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Gannets and Dolphins

Northern Gannets, fish-eating seabirds, dive headfirst into the ocean at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour, pursuing their prey. Sometimes, they get help. Dolphins herd fish into dense, frantic concentrations near the surface, while gannets take advantage and plunge into the shoals from aloft.... read more »

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The Arctic Plain in June

In early June, millions of birds arrive on the Arctic Coastal Plain in Alaska, from all over the world. They're there to attract a mate and raise their young. One shorebird, the Pectoral Sandpiper, has a pectoral sac on its chest. It stands on the ground and inflates this sac, and then takes off... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Great Black-backed Gull, North Atlantic Predator

Great Black-backed Gulls have a reputation as serious predators of other birds. During the nesting season, they’ll prey on eggs and nestlings of other seabirds. They’ll also hunt adult seabirds including puffins and grebes, as well as songbirds as big as a grackle. read more »

Audubon and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Hummingbirds have a symbiotic relationship with flowers: They buzz in close to drink the sweet nectar that the flowers make. While the hummer has its long beak and even longer tongue deep in the tube of the flower, it’s being dusted with pollen all across its face. Then, the bird will go on to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Sound Escapes - A Jubilant Riot of Music

When he was just 22 years old, a young man named Samuel Clemens (who would go on to become the writer Mark Twain) signed on to train as a pilot on a Mississippi riverboat. He quickly realized that, if he volunteered for the early morning shift he could experience one of the most incredible... read more »

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Hearing Loss and Birds

More than 20 years ago, Professor Ed Rubel of the University of Washington discovered that chickens could repair their own damaged hearing. The birds regrow tiny structures in the inner ear, known as auditory hair cells. Most vertebrates can regenerate these cells - but mammals cannot. Studying... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Giant Owls of Cuba

The Cuban Giant Owl, now extinct, was 3½ feet tall and weighed 20 pounds — the largest of all known owls. It had very small wings, running after its prey on long, powerful legs. Similar large owls, with long legs and small wings, have been unearthed in places as disparate as Georgia and Hawaii.... read more »

Sound Escapes - Dawn on the Mississippi

The Mississippi Flyway is one of North America’s four major corridors for migrating birds. Billions of birds make their way north from Central and South America into the U.S. and Canada each spring and head south again in the fall. For a time, they join residents, including this Barred Owl.... read more »

Birds Move from Fresh to Salt Water

To hear a Common Loon in the wild during summer, you’ll need to find a northern, freshwater lake where a pair is nesting. But to find that same Common Loon in winter, you’ll likely need to look on a saltwater bay. This shift from fresh to salt water would kill most animals. But loons — along with... read more »

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