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Past Shows

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Suburbs, Juncos, and Evolution

Birds have been living near humans for a long time. But only during the past 5,000 years have birds and humans shared space in cities and towns. “What we’ve done is create a new place where birds are under intense natural selection — from our activities,” says John Marzluff, Professor of Wildlife... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Limpkin

It's dawn on a spring day in the Big Cypress Swamp of Florida. Mist rises from quiet water into Spanish moss hanging from the cypress branches. A Limpkin is foraging for apple snails. When it touches a big, round shell, it grabs it quickly and pulls it from the water. Then, moving to solid ground... read more »

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Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

Sage Thrasher and Sagebrush

The glorious song of the male Sage Thrasher rings out every spring from tracts of sagebrush throughout the West. Sagebrush was once widespread in the Great Basin region, and so were the thrashers. But huge areas of sagebrush were turned into alfalfa and potato farms, and the songs of the thrasher... read more »

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American Bittern

The American Bittern, a member of the heron tribe, spends much of its time in the dense cover of the marsh. Although they are found across the country, you'll seldom see one. Bitterns are masters of camouflage. Their striped plumage perfectly imitates surrounding vegetation, and they conceal... read more »

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Sprague's Pipit - The Missouri Skylark

In Rare & Elusive Birds of North America, naturalist William Burt writes about Sprague's Pipit, also known as the Missouri Skylark. "Upward he goes, in bounding spirals: two, three, four, even five-hundred feet above the plain it is supposed; then he weaves about slowly, easily, as if... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, reflection, sound

Raptor Breeding

It's April, but Great Horned Owls have been busy at their nests for two months. Golden Eagles are on their nests as early as the beginning of March. And Red-tailed Hawks (like this one) begin early, too. Why do these birds of prey nest so early? It takes a long time to raise a baby hawk or owl to... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

American Woodcock

At sunset, the male American Woodcock - a plump, robin-sized bird - walks slowly on short legs from the cover of the forest to a nearby clearing. After a few sharp calls, the woodcock takes flight. As it spirals upward, slim, stiff feathers at its wingtips create a curious twittering. At the apex... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Double-Crested Cormorant

Sitting on a piling, wings outstretched, the Double-crested Cormorant looks like a black Celtic cross. Cormorants dive from the water's surface, pursuing prey under water, propelled by powerful webbed feet. The male performs a flashy wing-waving display to show off his colorful head-tufts and... read more »

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Birds Dress for Spring

It's spring! And for many birds, a time to look their best to attract a new mate. This American Goldfinch has recently molted. Its old, worn-down feathers have fallen out, and new ones have grown in. When goldfinches molt in the fall, they lose these brightly colored feathers. Their winter... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  plumage

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