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Past Shows

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Canada Geese - Migratory or Not

It's the time of year that geese migrate south for the winter. Isn't it? So why are there so many geese still hanging around, setting up housekeeping on our parks and golf courses? Did they decide to forgo the long trip north? In the early 1900s, a subspecies of non-migratory geese were imported... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Tropical Wake-up Call

If you lived along the forest's edge in Central America, every morning might begin with a cacophony of rhythmic guffaws, whistles, screeches, and screams. Plain Chachalacas and Great Kiskadees — like this one — join in the chorus. View a series of photos of the Plain Chachalaca taken by Texan... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Black-footed Albatross, Graceful Giant

Just a couple dozen miles off the Northwest coast, immense dark birds with long, saber-shaped wings glide without effort above the waves. These graceful giants are Black-footed Albatrosses, flying by the thousands near the edge of the continental shelf. Black-footed Albatrosses do not breed until... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  flight

Starlings Say It With Flowers

European Starlings regularly adorn their twig nests with marigolds, elderberry flowers, yarrow leaves, and even willow bark — all of which are full of aromatic chemicals, which fumigate their nests and are thought to discourage pests and parasites. Scientists discovered that starlings hatched in... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Bird-friendly Planting in Fall - With Joanna Buehler

The landscape around Joanna Buehler’s home on Lake Sammamish was once completely barren. But today, it provides food, water, and refuge for many species of birds. You can create a bird sanctuary in your own yard by selecting native plants adapted for your area. If you’re lucky, nature will do... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, gardening

What the Pacific Wren Hears

What does the Pacific Wren hear in a song? It's a long story. What we hear as a blur of sound, the bird hears as a precise sequence of sounds, the visual equivalent of seeing a movie as a series of still pictures. That birds can hear the fine structure of song so acutely allows them to convey... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Some of My Best Friends Are Salt Marshes

Riding the train west to New Haven or New York, you pass salt marshes with old and evocative names like The Saw Pit, Great Harbor, and Old Quarry. Watch for marsh birds — yellowlegs, sandpipers, Snowy Egrets. In the fall, you may find Northern Pintails, teal, and Black Ducks, like this one. We... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Swallows and Mud - A Myth?

The swallows that make mud nests in spring and catch flying insects all summer are now far south in Mexico, and Central and South America. It's only as recently as the end of the nineteenth century that ornithologists agreed that swallows, including this Cliff Swallow, migrate. Many formerly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, myth

Ulm Sparrows

As an old story from Germany goes, workers building the world’s tallest church were preparing to install an immensely long beam, but they couldn’t get it through the city gate. Preparing to dismantle the city wall to clear a path to the construction site, workers saw a House Sparrow carry a long... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  history

When Starlings Cheat

When Hank Williams wrote Your Cheatin' Heart, birds probably weren't on his mind. But researchers have found evidence of what we might call "infidelity" in birds. Scientists in east Africa learned that female Superb Starlings often seem to have "cheatin'" on their minds. Superb Starlings live in... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

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