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Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

Downy Woodpeckers

Coast to coast, border to border, forest to feeder, the Downy Woodpecker goes about its business in 49 states. The smallest woodpecker in the United States, it turns up everywhere there are a few trees, except in the dry deserts of the Southwest and in Hawaii.Sign up for weekly preview email and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Northern Saw-whet - The Christmas Tree Owl

Christmas tree plantations may not be the best habitat for wild birds, but they do hold an attraction - for Northern Saw-Whet Owls. These miniature owls seem to feel at home in the small evergreens. And when the birds are spotted, they're most likely to remain motionless rather than fly away. So... read more »

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Crows and Chips

Crows didn't get where they are today by being shy or slow. They take advantage of whatever food they find, where and when they find it. Listener Jerry Campbell told his story of one crow making off with three chips. Catch a video of another clever crow in Japan.Sign up for the BirdNote podcast,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, listener story

Birds in Summer - The Heat of the Day

Just a few weeks past the solstice, and the real heat of summer is yet to come. Some shorebirds are already on their way south, but most songbirds will be here for a while longer. What's the best time of day to look for them? Many birds are most active in the early morning, taking advantage of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Crow Parents, Fearless Defenders

Although the American Crow may seem blasé about pillaging another bird's nest, it regards a threat to its own young as a punishable offense. To protect their nest, adult crows dive-bomb people, cats, and other animals, and even other birds (including this kite -- click View Large). Young crows... read more »

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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

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