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Shows With Contributions by Bob Sundstrom

How Birds' Names Change

Have you ever heard of a marsh hawk or a sparrow hawk? These long-familiar bird names have passed into history. The study of birds, like any science, remains a work in progress. New findings about birds' DNA or other attributes bring changes in classification of species, often resulting in new... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, ornithology, science

Pigeons Love Cities - But We Loved Them First

Though some might see them as winged rats in today’s cities, pigeons have a long-standing bond with people -- especially in our urban environment. From Mesopotamia, 7000 years ago, to the urban skyscrapers of today, pigeons have been a constant. They’ve served as meat and sacrifices, navigators... read more »

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Nest Cavities - Book Early

Tree Swallows and bluebirds — like this Western Bluebird — are among the earliest northbound migrants to arrive, heralding spring a month before the equinox. These species will nest only in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or man-made nestboxes. But the supply of specialized nest sites is... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Cranes' Voices Across the Globe

There are fifteen species of cranes across the globe, found everywhere but Antarctica and South America. During the winter, cranes forage and rest together by the thousands. Listen in to the voices of cranes from all over the world. Nothing evokes the spirit of the wild like the voices of these... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Mockingbirds Are Southerners

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Northern Mockingbirds began nesting in the Northeastern states. In the 20th century, the birds expanded their range into Ohio and the upper Midwest. Much of California saw the arrival of mockingbirds in the 20th century, too. Habitat change due to humans... read more »

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Charles Darwin and the White Tern

On a stop at the Cocos Islands near Sumatra, the naturalist Charles Darwin described his first encounter with a special little bird. He wrote: “It is a small snow-white tern, which smoothly hovers at the distance of a few feet above one’s head, its large black eye scanning, with quiet curiosity,... read more »

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When Does a Crossbill's Bill Cross?

A young crossbill starts life with a wedge-shaped beak. As it grows up and starts to feed itself by removing conifer seeds from their tough packaging, the tips of its bill begin to grow rapidly — and then they cross. By the time the bird is a month and a half old, the tips of its bill become... read more »

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Left Foot or Right? Handedness in Birds

A parrot’s eyes are located on the sides of its head. So, if it wants to look at something — say, a delicious piece of fruit — it has to cock its head one way or the other do it. And if it looks with its left eye, then uses its left foot. Scientists call this handedness. That’s when one hand — or... read more »

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Who, or What, Was Mother Goose?

Mother Goose was sometimes illustrated as an old country woman wearing a tall hat and riding on the back of a goose. Or sometimes as just a big, motherly goose wearing reading glasses and a bonnet, a friendly figure children could trust.Support for BirdNote comes from Seattle’s Portage Bay Café ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Ecuador's Nature Reserves

Ecuador is home to 1,600 species of birds — twice the number in all of North America. Artist and naturalist Paul Greenfield, a long-time resident of Ecuador, has helped create conservation reserves, large and small. He feels that smaller reserves may have the best chance for long-term success.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

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