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Past Shows

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Emily K. Michael - Trading Threes

Because she’s blind, Emily K. Michael experiences birds through their songs and calls. As a birder and poet, she describes hearing three Northern Cardinals singing to each other, as she walked her dog.April is Poetry Month in the US, and we asked Emily to share her poem, Trading Threes.You can... read more »


Voices and Vocabularies - Cardinals' Duet

Among most North American songbirds, it’s males alone who sing. But during the nesting season, we also hear female cardinals. Just when she sings and whether or not she matches his song may determine when the male brings food to the nest. Support comes from Sasquatch Books, announcing Every... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, vocalization

Kingdom of Rarities - Featuring Eric Dinerstein

Why are some creatures rare and others common? What forces – natural and manmade – cause rarity? Eric Dinerstein travels far and wide for answers. He wonders how different the world could be with a few changes: “. . . what if we started caring about rare wildlife with the same intensity as we do... read more »


The Ten Commandments of Subirdia

In his book Welcome To Subirdia, bird expert John Marzluff offers a guide for living in close proximity to birds and other wildlife. His advice includes the following “commandments:” Do not covet your neighbor's lawn; keep your cat indoors; make your windows visible to birds; don’t light up the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  gardening, human interaction

Backyard Bird Science

One of the best studies of a North American bird ever written was published by a citizen-scientist named Margaret Morse Nice. Margaret Nice banded more than 800 Song Sparrows in a 40-acre tract in Ohio. Most of us have neither the time nor the 40 acres, but there is still much we can do. Start by... read more »

Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

Stefania Gomez - Swifts

Each September, thousands of Vaux's Swifts roost in the chimney of Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, a stopover on their southern migration. Crowds gather every night to watch the spectacle. As a celebration of Poetry Month in the US, we offer this poem, Swifts, by Stefania Gomez.You... read more »


A Giant Parrot of New Zealand

New Zealand was once home to a massive parrot that stood three feet tall, about hip-high to most adult humans. It’s estimated that the bird weighed around fifteen pounds, and it probably didn’t fly. But it didn’t need to, because there were no land predators at that time — between sixteen and... read more »

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 »

Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Thomas Jefferson's Mockingbirds

Mockingbirds, masters of mimicry, are prone to ramble on and on. Sometimes they even sing at night. Thomas Jefferson kept Northern Mockingbirds in his office and sleeping quarters, while president in the early 1800s. One of Jefferson’s pet mockingbirds — named Dick— would perch on his shoulder... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history, vocalization

The Lark Ascending

In “The Lark Ascending,” composer Ralph Vaughan Williams conjures up a bucolic vision of pastoral England. Small fields, hedgerows, an early summer’s morning. And the display flight of a Eurasian Skylark: Alauda arvensis. The lark — not much bigger than a swallow — has been severely affected by... read more »

Topics & Themes:  breeding display, music