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Shows With Contributions by Frances Wood

Barn Swallow, Natural Pest Control

Barn Swallows have adapted to nesting near people, and build their cup-shaped mud nests in barns or garages, or on protected ledges, often near each other. The good news? These twittery, flittery birds love to eat the insects that humans consider pesky.Imagine: 60 insects per hour, a whopping 850... read more »

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Nesting Niches

American Robins (like this male seen here with its young), House Finches, and Song Sparrows may all nest within one small garden. By selecting different nesting strata, the species avoid competing for the same nesting sites. If you plant your garden in multiple layers – trees both short and tall,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening, nesting

Nocturnal Migration of Songbirds

If this week's bright full moon pulls you outside, pause for a moment and listen. You might hear migrating songbirds overhead. Most songbirds migrate at night, when fewer predators are out. The migrants stop, feed, and rest during the day. However, many scientists believe that the main reason... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

The Marsh Wren

Some bird-lovers have tagged the Marsh Wren the "Heinz 57 variety" bird, because scientists have recorded 57 different variations of its song. And nightfall doesn't faze these birds. A male may sing straight through the night. Marsh Wrens usually forage out of view, hopping up only for brief... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Tanagers - Coffee Birds

This Scarlet Tanager (R), its cousin the Western Tanager (L), and your latte have a connection. Much of the birds' prime wintering habitat has been turned into coffee plantations. When shade-giving trees are cut down to grow coffee in direct sunlight, the tanagers' winter habitat is also removed.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

How Brown Pelicans Dive

Brown Pelicans fly just above the surface of the water. They circle high, then diving headfirst, plunge under water to catch fish. But doesn't that hurt? Several adaptations protect pelicans as they dive. First, they have air sacs beneath the skin on their breasts, which act as cushions. Watch a... read more »

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Cheery American Robin

What was the first bird you noticed as a child? Perhaps you heard the cheery song of the American Robin coming from the top of a nearby tree. Or maybe you saw a robin running and pausing on the lawn, cocking its head before extracting a fat, juicy worm from the ground. The robin is often the... read more »

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Eagles Rebuild

Bald Eagles build large stick nests in tall trees. These nests endure rough treatment. Rambunctious chicks pull sticks out and flap madly, holding on with their feet, before they fledge. Wind buffets the nest year round. But eagles reuse their nests year after year. Adult eagles break off dead... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Black-capped Chickadee

If you hang a simple feeder outside your window, you might attract this Black-capped Chickadee and many other birds. Fill the feeder and install it close to any room where you spend time. Hang the feeder within three feet of the window to keep the birds from colliding with the glass. That way, if... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, vocalization

American Coots

American Coots settle onto lakes and estuaries, forming rafts of hundreds, even thousands, of birds. They like to feed on aquatic vegetation, and sometimes they lumber ashore to nibble at grasses and agricultural crops. The coot's lobed toes help it swim and maneuver under water. To get airborne,... read more »

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