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Past Shows

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Using the Merlin Bird ID App

The Merlin Bird ID smartphone app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a free, easy way to help you identify new birds. The app asks a series of simple questions and offers a list of possible birds, along with photos and sounds, to help your identification. The app draws from millions of bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

Deep-diving Emperor Penguins - Featuring Jessica Meir

The Emperor Penguin is the largest penguin on the planet. It’s also the deepest and longest underwater diver. Biologist Jessica Meir, pictured here, traveled to Antarctica to study their amazing feats. She learned that Emperor Penguins can hold relatively more oxygen in their bodies than humans... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, science

The Secret Lives of Goldfinches

American Goldfinches are one of our most familiar birds, but they lead lives that are anything but ordinary. These birds will sometimes raise two broods a year, have a secret weapon against cowbirds, and have the ability to distinguish between songs that — to our ears — sound the same. Backyard... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

The Phoebe and the Pewee

The Eastern Phoebe (pictured here) is one of the most familiar flycatchers east of the Rockies. Because the Eastern Phoebe repeats its name when it sings, it’s a pretty straightforward voice to identify and remember. But there’s another flycatcher east of the Rockies that whistles its name over... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Chicago Volunteers Rescue Birds

In many urban areas, collisions are the fate of hundreds of thousands of birds, like this Brown Creeper. But Annette Prince and volunteers with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors are making a difference. Every morning during spring and fall migration, Annette and her team rescue birds that have... read more »

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Two Phoebes Share the West

In the American West, there are two species of phoebe that share the same expansive country. But they occupy different habitats. The Say’s Phoebe prefers dry, open country ranging from tundra to desert. This Black Phoebe is a close cousin to the Say’s. But it is nearly always hunting alongside... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Who Likes Suet?

Chickadees and titmice, nuthatches and jays, and woodpeckers, like the Pileated pictured here, all love suet. As do birds whose beaks can’t open seeds, like tiny kinglets, and almost any wintering warbler. The Brown Creeper, usually creeping up tree trunks, is a cool bird to discover at your suet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

Monitoring Migrating Shorebirds - With Sarah Schmidt

Right now, volunteer observers are counting shorebirds on the move. Sandpipers, dowitchers, plovers, Dunlin, and others that raised their young in the Arctic are now making southbound migrations. They're looking for places to feed and rest along the way. On Crockett Lake in Washington State,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science

Ulm Sparrows

As an old story from Germany goes, workers building the world’s tallest church were preparing to install an immensely long beam, but they couldn’t get it through the city gate. Preparing to dismantle the city wall to clear a path to the construction site, workers saw a House Sparrow carry a long... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Teen Birders

Elisa Yang, a teenage birder, couldn’t find a young birder group anywhere in California -- so she created her own. In the San Bernardino National Forest, they hunt for the Mexican Whip-poor-will, an elusive crepuscular bird. The teens don headlamps and hike down a dirt road. Perched on boulders,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

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