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Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

As the Crow Flies

Traveling "as the crow flies," eating "like a bird," and being "free as a bird" are just a few of the sayings we use to describe everyday human actions and feelings. But these often don't take into account the birds' real activities, relative to their size.Sign up now for the BirdNote Weekly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  language

The Golden Eagles of Ireland

Golden Eagles were once revered as a symbol of wisdom and power by the ancient druids in Ireland. But the Golden Eagle’s voice was not heard in Ireland for most of the Twentieth Century. In the spring of 2007, a Golden Eagle pair hatched a chick for the first time since 1912, in Glenveagh... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Birds on the Menu!

You're one lucky duck to have landed at our little diner. This is no fly-by-night joint. May we start you with a drink - a swallow of Old Crow or Wild Turkey, perhaps? You're just in time for the early-bird specials, when toucan eat for the price of one. The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, language

Stephen Colbert's Bald Eagle

Watch Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, and you'll see a Bald Eagle streak across the screen, screaming, talons outstretched, ferocious, majestic. But - in the spirit of truthiness - we must declare that the bird you hear is not a Bald Eagle, but a Red-tailed Hawk. Be sure... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

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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Interview with Father Tom Pincelli

BirdNote guest, Father Tom Pincelli (also known as Father Bird), comes to us from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, one of the premier birding spots in this country. He was born and raised in Connecticut, but now calls Texas home. This Great Kiskadee is a typical bird of that area. The Rio... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, festival

Columbus's Birds

As Christopher Columbus neared land in 1492, clues in the form of birds gave him hope that landfall was not far off. From his journal, Sept. 14: The crew of the Nina stated that they had seen [a type of tern] which never goes farther than twenty-five leagues from the land. ... Sept. 30: Four... read more »

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Fake Marbled Murrelet Eggs Cause Jays to Vomit

Because the Marbled Murrelet lays only one egg, its odds of raising a family are slim. Steller's Jays – as they frequent campgrounds in the redwood forests of northern California, looking for human handouts – further threaten murrelet reproduction by eating their eggs. Fortunately, scientists... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Birding without Sight

It can be difficult to identify a bird by its appearance, and just as challenging to do so by its song. But birding by ear is a great way to get to know birds. A blind birder in Kitsap County, Washington, was puzzled by a haunting bird song. She thought it might be a special song of the American... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear

Sitting in the Catbird Seat

Longtime baseball announcer Red Barber often described a player in a winning situation as "sitting in the catbird seat." So what is "sitting in the catbird seat"? And what is a catbird? The Gray Catbird is a cousin of the mockingbird, and it does sound a little like a cat. During breeding season,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, language, sports

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