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Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

Mother Birds

Happy Mother's Day, from the whole BirdNote team!Avian motherhood is a mixed bag. Peregrine Falcon mothers share duties fairly equally with Peregrine dads. At the other end of the spectrum is the female hummingbird, which usually carries the entire burden of nesting, incubating, and tending the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

International Migratory Bird Laws

In May, we celebrate migratory birds, including this Common Yellowthroat. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 gave much needed protection to birds, especially migratory songbirds. In 1940, the US and 17 other countries throughout the Americas signed a pact to "protect and preserve - in their... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, science

House Sparrow - Introduction

The House Sparrow was first introduced into the US from England in the 1850s and has spread across the country. The name "House Sparrow" fits it well, because – from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, and Alaska to the Panama Canal – it's found nearly everywhere people live.  read more »

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A Natural Feast for Hummingbirds

Hoping to attract hummingbirds to your yard or balcony? One way is to grow native plants. Native plants provide cover, and they offer nectar in spring and summer. They also attract insects, the most important part of a hummingbird’s diet. Just add a source of water for drinking and bathing, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

Blackbird, by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney and the rest of the Beatles most certainly grew up hearing Eurasian Blackbirds. Their song is beautiful, so it's no wonder the Beatles chose to weave it into one of their songs. But McCartney wasn't singing about the bird. He was singing about the racial strife in the American... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, music

Rare Sounds Saved by Macaulay Library

The tranquil song of the Kaua'i O'o graced the high, dense forests of Kaua'i until 1987, when it was heard no more. The voice of only one member of this family of birds, now all extinct, remains immortalized on tape. The Macaulay Library maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Birds in the Winter Garden

Put your winter garden to work as a haven for birds. Leaves and brush left to compost provide foraging and roosting places, smother this year’s weeds, and feed next spring’s plant growth. Watch for juncos and towhees in the leaf litter, and wrens in the brush. Maybe even a Song Sparrow, like this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

Project FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon, is a window on the birds of winter. Through Project FeederWatch, scientists are able to track the movements of birds - including this Pine Siskin - and understand trends in population and distribution... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, citizen science

Acorn Woodpecker

He doesn't sound exactly like Woody Woodpecker, but the Acorn Woodpecker was probably the model for the cartoon character. The story goes that Walter Lantz and his new bride, Grace, were on their honeymoon in a cabin in California. A racket on their roof drew them outside, where they spotted an... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood, humor, vocalization

Pirates and Parrots

Ahoy, Mates! September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. No doubt the most famous image of a pirate with a parrot is Long John Silver in Treasure Island. During the 1700s, pirates plied the waters of South and Central America, home to many species of parrots, including this Blue and Yellow Macaw.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

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