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Shows With Contributions by Frances Wood

Old and New Memories of Black-capped Chickadees

Fernando Nottebohm of Rockefeller University studies the growth of neurons in the brains of birds. He’s an expert in the remarkable ability of Black-capped Chickadees to recall the locations of hundreds of stored seeds. Dr. Nottebohm suggests that as demand for memory space peaks, chickadees... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Feisty Cardinal

You may not have seen a Northern Cardinal in the wild, but you've probably seen one on holiday cards or the cover of a bird book. During spring breeding season, biologist Eric Lind and his team capture and band birds at Constitution Marsh on the east side of the Hudson River. For eight years in a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

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

How Raven Made the Tide

Long ago the tide stayed close to shore. The people went hungry because the clams lay hidden under water. Then Raven had a plan. He put on his cloak and flew along the shore to the house of the old woman who held the tide-line firmly in her hand. Raven fooled her, and she let go of the tide-line,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Groove-billed Anis, Communal Nesters

Groove-billed Anis gather in loose groups. And with good reason. They nest communally. As many as four or five pairs of birds may use one nest, a bulky cup of twigs lined with fresh leaves. When the dominant female ani begins to lay her own eggs, the other females lay simultaneously. Up to 20... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

The Gulls of Summer

Gull-watching is pretty tame along the coasts most of the summer. Many gull species retreat north to nest; a few others nest inland. Along the Atlantic, it’s mostly nesting Herring and Laughing Gulls that stick around through summer. On the Pacific Coast, it’s Glaucous-winged and Western. But by... read more »

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Rufous Hummingbirds Head South

Right now in the Northwest, male Rufous Hummingbirds are heading south. By late July, they will pour into southeastern Arizona on their way to wintering areas in Mexico. The females and their offspring will leave later in the summer, some lingering until mid-September. Along the way, they will... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, migration

Steller's Birds

In July, 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller set foot on land later known as Alaska, the first European to do so. Steller was a German naturalist on the St. Peter, a Russian ship exploring the Bering Sea. He was shipwrecked on Bering Island for over a year, and later wrote a book about the creatures that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Nests with Flair

While small birds gather feathers and fuzz, an Osprey adds material to its showy nest, high on a tree with a broken top - or maybe on a tower. Take branches three feet long; add sticks, bark, and mats of algae; throw in some flotsam and jetsam, and you have an Osprey's nest. It's unfortunate that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Song Sparrow in your Brush Pile

Song Sparrows are found throughout the United States and into Southern Canada. To bring them into your garden, plant thick, low vegetation, or create a brush pile. This sparrow is celebrated - and named - for its singing. Without its melodious song, this furtive bird could be overlooked, since it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

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