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Past Shows

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What Do Desert Birds Drink?

In the desert Southwest, water can be scarce. Yet some birds, like this Black-throated Sparrow, thrive in a scorching landscape. The birds obtain moisture from foods like nectar and fruit, as well as insects and other prey. They tuck into the shade in the heat of the day, so they won’t lose water... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Pterodactyls and Birds

Pterosaurs—the giant, leathery flying creatures of the age of the dinosaurs—were giant reptiles, NOT dinosaurs. The pterosaurs had slim bodies and thin-walled, lightweight bones, ideal for flying. They thrived for 160 million years, passing into history after the same asteroid strike that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  evolution, science

Chickadees Clean Up After the Youngsters

Imagine this Black-capped Chickadee flying toward its nest, carrying fresh insects for its chicks. A moment later, it emerges with a tiny white pouch in its bill. The chickadee drops the object into the vegetation below. That outgoing payload is a fecal sac, a remarkable adaptation found in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Listening for Bird Song - Featuring Gordon Hempton

We may be more indebted to birds than we know. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton explains: “I was curious about the human range of sound . . . it’s a perfect match for bird song,” he says. “If we hear bird song, then we’re also listening to an area that has food, water, and an extended favorable... read more »

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Rapid Evolution in the Galápagos Islands

Scientists have long thought that new species took a very long time to emerge. This thinking has now changed dramatically. On an island in the Galápagos, researchers Rosemary and Peter Grant discovered that a hybrid union of two distinct species of finch produced descendants different from any of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  evolution

An Evening in Sapsucker Woods - With A.A. Allen

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the world. In 1958, Arthur Allen, the lab’s founder, described An Evening in Sapsucker Woods: “There is a charming spot in the Finger Lakes country of central New York that we know as Sapsucker Woods. Friends have... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, recording

Trust and Partnerships Help Birds in Montana

Conserving habitat for birds like this Red-naped Sapsucker isn’t easy. It requires knowledge, respect, and partnerships. Jim Brown, who was instrumental in establishing an Audubon Important Bird Area along 25 miles of the Clark Fork River in Montana, explains: “Most landowners are quite... read more »

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July before Dawn - Aldo Leopold

The song of this Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his Wisconsin farm in the 1940s. Sadly, Field Sparrow populations are declining rapidly. You can learn more about "The State of the Birds" from National Audubon, and the plight of the Field Sparrow in particular. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, reflection, vocalization

Birds and Baseball

At the crack of the bat, a Blue Jay flies toward first and glides around the base. Deep in left field, an Oriole pounces on the ball. He wings the ball toward second, where a fellow Oriole snares it on a hop - just as the swift Blue Jay slides toward the base in a cloud of red dust. Ahh, summer... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  sports

Message of the Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove was named for the male's gentle voice, which may sound forlorn. Mourning Doves are common in suburban environments and along roadsides, adapting well to human habitation. On a warm, lazy, summer afternoon, the dove's voice seems to speak more of serenity than sadness, and of a... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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