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Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

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

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

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

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

The Crow and the Gull

Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. Can you guess who won?The gull seen here... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, listener story

Clever Nuthatches

Of the four nuthatch species living in the United States, the most common are the Red-breasted Nuthatch, seen left here, and the White-breasted Nuthatch, on the right. The nuthatch's insistent call matches its aggressiveness. As it works its way down a tree trunk, the nuthatch can spot-and eat... read more »

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Keep Your Cats Indoors

When they first leave the nest, young birds are especially vulnerable to cats. For some birds, it takes a few days before they can fly high enough to be out of harm's way. You can help by keeping your cat indoors, especially during the breeding season, March through July. If you hear a bird's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

The Baltimore Oriole

Not all blackbirds are mostly black. This Baltimore Oriole is orange! It’s named after Sir George Calvert, First Lord of Baltimore, whose coat-of-arms carried a gold and black design. In spring and summer, you may see these orioles in the Midwest and eastern US, lighting up the trees where they... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, nesting, plumage

Old Abe, War Eagle

Abe Lincoln's Birthday! An infantry regiment from Wisconsin had a Bald Eagle as its mascot during the Civil War. Named "Old Abe", in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, this eagle accompanied Company C in nearly 40 battles. After the Civil War, Old Abe retired to the Wisconsin Capital, appearing... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

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