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Past Shows

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What Are Birds Saying with Their Crests?

A bird’s crest is made up of a slender array of feathers on top of its head. These feathers are a bit longer and can be spiked up or slicked back, depending on what the bird is trying to communicate. Even birds without crests, like crows or sparrows, sometimes puff up their short crown feathers... read more »

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Henry David Thoreau and the Wood Thrush

In June 1853, Thoreau wrote of an enchanting encounter with the Wood Thrush: "This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning." Wood Thrushes thrive in large expanses of forest. And their numbers have... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Eastern Wood-Pewee and Eastern Deciduous Forest

Each year, the plaintive song of the Eastern Wood-Pewee carries through the forests of eastern North America. For the past 25 years, the number of Wood-Pewees has fallen. But providing economic incentives for private landowners to save forests can help. So can enacting policies that promote smart... read more »

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Father Birds

The male hummingbird leaves the female to build the nest and raise the young alone, but other father birds are more involved. A Peregrine Falcon father shares duties almost evenly with the mother. (Stewart, seen here, nested on a Seattle skyscraper for many years.) But the male Emu of Australia... read more »

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Oxbow Lakes Are Often Rich With Birdlife

Many birds look for islands when they want to find a great nesting site, because islands are often protected from mammalian predators. Some of the best places to find islands are oxbow lakes, like many of the ones protected by the National Wildlife Refuge System. read more »

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Black-bellied Plover, Arctic Nester

In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, June days offer almost continuous daylight to breeding birds, including this Black-bellied Plover. At this high latitude, Black-bellied Plovers can complete their breeding cycle in a month and a half. Not long after the summer solstice, the adults begin... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Dunlins and Peregrines

In a dramatic and sometimes deadly aerial ballet, a Peregrine Falcon dives on a flock of Dunlins. Seeking escape, the shorebirds flash white and dark, rippling through the sky.  This dance has changed dramatically since the banning of the pesticide DDT in 1973. As the number of peregrines on... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Black-headed Grosbeak Sings!

The song of this male Black-headed Grosbeak has been described as that of a drunken or scat-singing robin. Compare the songs of both birds, and draw your own conclusion! Singing Black-headed Grosbeaks can be heard from May well into summer, especially in streamside woods.This page is... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

How the Oriole Got Its Name

The oriole’s name comes from the Latin oriolus, (or-ee-OH-lus) meaning “the golden one.” Despite their similar names, the Eurasian Golden Oriole and the Baltimore Oriole aren’t related at all. Each belongs to a family unique to its side of the Atlantic. As Europeans arrived in North America, they... read more »

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Peeps? Butterbutts? What are these birders talking about?

People who watch birds have developed nicknames and a whole lingo to talk about the birds they love. But don’t feel like you have to know everything – or anything! Birders love to share. Peeps are sandpipers. Can you guess what butterbutts are? Listen to today’s episode and find out!BirdNote... read more »

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