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Past Shows

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For Australian Magpies, Bigger Groups May Mean Bigger Brains

Some scientists believe our complex human brains are the result of living in complex social groups. We have to keep track of lots of other individuals and constantly changing social relationships. Scientists studying Australian Magpies in the wild have found that birds living in bigger groups... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

From the Start, Daffy Duck Has Been a Cartoon Original

From his start in 1937, the gangly, black-feathered Daffy Duck was a cartoon original: wildly outspoken, volatile, and confrontational — a truly daft duck. Daffy was one of the most memorable characters from the golden age of cartoons, paving the way for other screwball cartoon personalities to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Why Some Birds Sing in the Winter

By late January, some resident birds, such as the Northern Mockingbird, are beginning their spring singing. When you step outside on a particularly sunny day this winter, a Fox Sparrow like the one pictured here may be warming up for the coming spring. And as far north as British Columbia,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

South Polar Skuas - Bullies of the Oceans - with Tom Johnson

Meet the South Polar Skua, a predatory seabird. During summer in Antarctica, South Polar Skuas feed their young on the chicks of other seabirds. And once their breeding season ends, the skuas fly to northern oceans, such as the North Atlantic, to find large flocks of shearwaters, gulls, or terns ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Bird Feeders and Whaling Ships

In the opening lines of Moby Dick, the narrator, Ishmael, confesses to "a damp, drizzly November in my soul." One sure way to brighten November's damp and drizzly mood is to welcome birds into your yard with birdfeeders. Black-oil sunflower seed is especially popular. Hang suet in a wire cage to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding

There’s Something About Penguins

There’s just something about penguins. Pleasantly plump, they stand upright and teeter like toddlers. Although often depicted in black and white, most are actually more colorful. Seven species have long, jaunty golden feather tufts above their eyes. King Penguins (like these) and Emperor Penguins... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Winter Birds Love Suet

Birds at a suet feeder... What a burst of vitality on a chilly morning! What's the attraction? A cake of suet, suspended from a branch in a small wire feeder. Suet is beef fat, a high-energy food critical for birds' survival in the colder months. Suet is an especially strong magnet for birds ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding

Return of the Snowbird

You may see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer, but come fall, many more — those that have been nesting in the mountains or farther north — arrive to spend the winter. These juncos often visit birdfeeders for winter feasting. Dark-eyed Juncos forage on the ground. The flash of white tail-feathers... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Birding with Grandpa -- With Dick Ashford

Dick Ashford, former board president of Klamath Bird Observatory, completed a career with the Navy before learning about birds in earnest. Like many, he's taking time to share his love of birds - and looking for Red-shouldered Hawks, like this one - with younger generations. One of the lucky kids... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding

The Lowly Starling

Much maligned as a pest and cursed by many as an "invasive species," the European Starling has had many fans, too. Eugene Schieffelin introduced about 50 pairs into the United States in the 1890s. And Rachel Carson noted that the starling carries "more than 100 loads of destructive insects per... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

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