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Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

Restoring the Land - An Interview with Susan Freeman

Aldo Leopold, in A Sand County Almanac, described his family's efforts to restore their land to its natural state. Leopold's granddaughter, Susan Freeman, a piano teacher in Seattle, inherited that land ethic. When offered the chance to help restore a watershed on Western Washington's Olympic... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Turkey Calling - Real or Unreal

Preston Pittman won his first turkey-calling contest when he was only 16, and he makes the sounds with his mouth. Sadler McGraw uses the "friction" technique. He pulls a "striker" - almost like a screwdriver - across a crystal surface. It sounds for all the world like a Wild Turkey, and it won... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, vocalization

Unlikely Places to Go Birding

Birding is often best in the least likely places. At sewage treatment plants, watch for ducks and gulls - and raptors keeping watch over them all. Another place might be your local landfill or dump. The Brownsville, Texas dump was, for years, the only place in the US you could find this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

What's Your State Bird?

All states have an official bird, usually one that's associated with its particular region. Many state birds are quite common, although Hawaii's chosen bird, the Nene, a type of goose, is endangered. The bird chosen by the most states — seven — is the Northern Cardinal, followed by the Western... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Raven's Love Song

Ravens are seen as tricksters in many traditions. But Common Ravens have a softer side. During courtship, a pair will often sit side by side, sometimes preening each other's feathers. And during that ritual, one or both may make soft warbling sounds. Raven nestlings sometimes make this same sound... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

Crows Preening

American Crows and other birds groom each other while sitting side by side on a wire or branch. One stretches out its neck, and the groomer, or preener, twirls individual feathers in its beak, often starting at the back of the head and working around to the front. This grooming, known as ... read more »

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Feeding Frenzy

It's late winter at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida. Many birds have finished nesting, and young birds are everywhere. This morning, wind and tide have conspired to strand schools of fish in backwater ditches. And the birds are taking advantage of it. It's a... read more »

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Birdbaths in Winter

Does the image of a frozen birdbath bring to mind a small yellow bird with ice skates? Birds need water in all seasons, for drinking and for bathing. When the water is frozen, you can thaw it with hot water. Or go the slightly more expensive route and add a heater.Support for BirdNote comes from... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

A Year's Worth of Birds

Phoebe Snetsinger saw more than 8,400 species of birds in her lifetime! And she doesn't even hold the record. You don't have to keep a list to enjoy birds, but the variety you see in your own yard might surprise you. Start a list now, and keep track of a year's worth of birds. If you're lucky,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

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