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Past Shows

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Franklin's Gull - The Half-time Seagull

Gulls are often called "seagulls," but many spend a lot of time far away from the sea. The Franklin's Gull breeds in freshwater wetlands more than 5,000 miles from its winter home at the ocean. After the breeding season, they ascend high in the sky for their long flight across the Equator to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Storks and Babies

Storks and babies have been linked together for centuries. But how did that old legend get started? Researchers suggest that the legend goes back to pagan times, when civilizations were keen to have high birthrates. The myth of storks and babies was forged by the birds' return in spring, when... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, human interaction

Ecosystem Engineers on America's Serengeti

Some birds require habitats created by other animals. Two such landscape shapers were the American bison and the prairie dog. With the extermination of millions of bison and prairie dogs, species such as this Mountain Plover and the Burrowing Owl, which require barren ground, greatly declined.... read more »

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Winter Brings Falcons

A Merlin — like this one — hunts boldly from a high perch. A Peregrine Falcon dives on a hapless pigeon, with an air speed approaching 200 miles per hour. The Gyrfalcon can fly down even the fastest waterfowl in a direct sprint. A Prairie Falcon blends in with its background. And the smallest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Rhea Nesting Is Mind-boggling

A typical bird nest will have maybe four to six eggs neatly arranged by the parent to hunker down on. But in one Rhea nest, you may find between 50 and 80 eggs! And they’re not all from the same set of parents. Male Rheas mate with several females and then build a single nest on the ground to... read more »

Wing-clapping

For most birds, wings are for flying. But for Rock Pigeons, they’re also for clapping. When the pigeons erupt into flight, some may slap their wings together above their bodies in a “wing clap.” A male Rock Pigeon will also do this when courting. Short-eared Owls have evolved wing-clapping, too.... read more »

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Recording Cerulean Warblers with Charlotte Goedsche

For 20 years, Charlotte Goedsche studied the Cerulean Warblers that breed in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. And she learned some fascinating things! For example, Charlotte could identify individual Cerulean Warbler males like this one, by listening to their songs. She hopes that... read more »

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Sounds of the Amazon

It's winter and time for a vacation. Let's head to the Amazon! With names like the Screaming Piha, the Blue-crowned Motmot, and the Black-necked Red-Cotinga, these are not your average birds. Insects are the background chorus for the Cuvier's Toucan and the Musician Wren. If you want to get away... read more »

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Laysan Albatrosses Nest at Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll is the winter home of nearly a million nesting albatrosses. Laysan Albatrosses return to Midway in November to breed. Roughly 450,000 pairs wedge their way into a scant 2½ square miles of land surface. And why do Laysans nest in winter? Well, the big birds forage mostly at night, so... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting, vocalization

Canada Jays Save Food for Later

While camping in the mountains, you might see this Canada Jay (formerly known as the Gray Jay — but before that, as the Canada Jay!), boldly swooping into your camp. This handsome jay’s big, black eyes seem to miss nothing — especially food. But the one food Canada Jays don’t eat is conifer seeds... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

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