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Past Shows

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Mississippi Kites

The Mississippi Kite is one of America's most elegant raptors. These dove-gray birds spend the summer hunting over plains and woodlands in the southern United States. They often nest colonially — unusual for hawks — with a half-dozen pairs in sight of one another in a grove of tall trees. By... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Nocturnal Migration of Songbirds

If this week's bright full moon pulls you outside, pause for a moment and listen. You might hear migrating songbirds overhead. Most songbirds migrate at night, when fewer predators are out. The migrants stop, feed, and rest during the day. However, many scientists believe that the main reason... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

The Marsh Wren

Some bird-lovers have tagged the Marsh Wren the "Heinz 57 variety" bird, because scientists have recorded 57 different variations of its song. And nightfall doesn't faze these birds. A male may sing straight through the night. Marsh Wrens usually forage out of view, hopping up only for brief... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Great Egret's Lacy Courtship

Male Great Egrets have special long feather plumes called aigrettes, which they use in courtship displays in the spring. These beautiful big birds were nearly hunted to extinction for these special feathers, which were used to adorn ladies’ hats. The plight of the egret spurred people to organize... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, plumage

Some Hummingbirds Perch in the Open

Male hummingbirds — like the Anna's Hummingbird seen here — keep a watchful eye on their territory and will often perch atop a high, bare twig in order to fully view their surroundings. From here, the male hummer will launch himself into the air to perform courtship displays, to chase off rivals,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Toddlers - Fledgling Chickadees

Sometimes in spring or summer, you might see a fledgling songbird: Like a toddler, it’s unsteady, awkward, and learning the ropes. And you might wonder if the young bird has left the nest too soon. (In the case of this Black-capped Chickadee, just 16 days after hatching) But a nest full of... read more »

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds that nest in the Eastern states. Most Ruby-throats spend the winter in Central America. By March, some males are already returning to the Southeast. But it's well into April before they reach the northern states. Female hummingbirds arrive a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, migration

What's Inside a Woodpecker's Nest Hole?

Many woodpeckers chisel out deep cavities in tree trunks in order to lay their eggs and raise their brood. The cavities hollowed out by the birds vary in size, depending on the species of woodpecker. Most North American woodpeckers carve a new nest cavity each spring.Support for BirdNote comes... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

In Celebration of Earth Day

The populations of some birds have declined dramatically ... more than 80% in the past 40 years. Here are a few: the Northern Bobwhite, the Evening Grosbeak, the Northern Pintail, and the Boreal Chickadee. Common Terns ... like this one ... migrate along both coasts and through the interior to... read more »

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Restoring the Land - An Interview with Susan Freeman

Aldo Leopold, in A Sand County Almanac, described his family's efforts to restore their land to its natural state. Leopold's granddaughter, Susan Freeman, a piano teacher in Seattle, inherited that land ethic. When offered the chance to help restore a watershed on Western Washington's Olympic... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

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