Shows With Contributions by Dennis Paulson

House Finch in profile, showing red-colored head and throat

You Are What You Eat

House Finches are familiar birds all across North America. Researchers have shown that the red coloration of males is produced from carotenoid pigments in the birds' diet. Male House Finches develop brighter plumage when they are growing in new feathers, if they eat more fruits containing
A gull on San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay in Winter

Birds (including Western Gulls, like this one) and people share San Diego Bay -- a deep-water port, navy ships, pleasure boats, and salt-evaporation ponds. Even so, it’s one of the best bird habitats on the West Coast. Western Sandpipers probe the mud for worms and snails. Egrets stalk the
Green Kingfisher seen in profile, perched on a branch

Three Kingfishers

The Belted Kingfisher is the one species of kingfisher found throughout most of North America north of Mexico. You'll have to go to Texas to see two other kingfishers. The quiet call of the Green Kingfisher - like this one - can be heard at wooded streams and ponds. A Ringed Kingfisher
Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Why Do Chickadees Come and Go?

A chickadee comes in to the feeder, quickly grabs a seed, and flies away. It may return immediately, but it's more likely to wait its turn. When a whole flock of chickadees moves into the yard, it looks as if they form a living conveyer belt. One chickadee after another flies to the feeder
Arctic Tern

Why Arctic Terns Have Short Beaks

The bill and legs of Arctic Terns are shorter than those of Common Terns. Because Arctic Terns breed in the Arctic and winter in the Antarctic, they are subject to much colder weather than are Common Terns. Birds' bills and legs lose heat, because they're not covered by feathers. Birds in
Flock of Dunlins in flight

Why Do Some Birds Flock?

When birds like these Dunlin form flocks, each individual is less likely to be captured by a predator. Some shorebirds that forage with their heads down, like godwits, will flock with birds that forage with their heads up, like curlews. Still other birds work together — like American White
Sooty Tern in flight

Sooty Tern

Sooty Terns have long been called "wide-awakes" because of their calls. But it may describe their sleeping habits, too. When young terns leave their breeding grounds, they don't return for several years. They do not rest on the water, and only rarely land on floating objects. They feed
American Avocets in non-breeding plumage

The Avocets of Bolivar Flats

The shallow waters and wide mudflats of the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary are alive with thousands of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. American Avocets are often among the most abundant birds on the flats, with 5,000 or more here most winters. The avocets have sensitive bills that curve
Rough-legged hawk in flight

Rough-legged Hawk

After breeding on Arctic cliffs and tundra hillsides in summer, Rough-legged Hawks winter throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Open country is their ideal territory, where the small rodents they depend on are usually so plentiful that the hawks have enough to eat. But the rodents are cyclic
Flock of Western Sandpipers

Chorus Line in the Sky

A flock of small shorebirds (like these Western Sandpipers) twists and turns, glittering in the sky. When threatened by a falcon, these birds take to the air, flying so close together that it's hard for a predator to capture one. A bird at one edge turns toward the middle, and a wave