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Shows With Contributions by Bob Sundstrom

Snow Geese: Too Much of a Good Thing

When small family farms gave way to large, industrial agricultural operations, the Snow Geese followed. Waste grain left over from harvests has allowed Snow Goose populations to jump. Now, there are so many Snow Geese they degrade their Arctic summer habitat, threatening other birds. Is there a... read more »

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Surf Scoters Stand Out

Surf Scoters are large colorful sea ducks. The male Surf Scoter’s huge red-orange bill with its white and black spots really stands out. It is a great tool for eating hard-shelled mollusks like clams and mussels. Surf Scoters spend the winter along the coastlines of North America. Look at the... read more »

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Wilson's Warblers Benefit from Shade-grown Coffee

Early this fall, the tiny Wilson's Warbler began its long migration to Belize, where it winters. Navigating by the stars, the 1/4-ounce bird made a series of night flights spanning more than 2500 miles. This warbler returns to the same coffee plantation each year. Taller trees that shade the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Not Just Any Nectar Will Do

Hummingbirds such as this Buff-tailed Sicklebill specialize in nectar feeding. But other species of birds, less specialized to nectar, also visit flowers for a taste of the sweet stuff. The flowers they visit likely have a more open shape, with nectar more accessible to a non-specialist’s bill.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, ecology

Three Worldwide Raptors

Consider three species of raptors: the Barn Owl, Peregrine Falcon, and Osprey. They’re on every continent except Antarctica. Each has a specialized hunting prowess distinct from the other. They can fly great distances. And like many birds of prey, they mate for life. The Barn Owl, pictured here,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

No Pounding Headache

The Pileated Woodpecker makes loud, hard whacks, as it leans back and then slams its bill into the side of a living tree. Sounds painful, if not downright disabling! How does the woodpecker's brain withstand it? All woodpeckers have an enlarged brain case, so the brain sits above the level of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

From the Start, Daffy Duck Has Been a Cartoon Original

From his start in 1937, the gangly, black-feathered Daffy Duck was a cartoon original: wildly outspoken, volatile, and confrontational — a truly daft duck. Daffy was one of the most memorable characters from the golden age of cartoons, paving the way for other screwball cartoon personalities to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Why Some Birds Sing in the Winter

By late January, some resident birds, such as the Northern Mockingbird, are beginning their spring singing. When you step outside on a particularly sunny day this winter, a Fox Sparrow like the one pictured here may be warming up for the coming spring. And as far north as British Columbia,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Bird Feeders and Whaling Ships

In the opening lines of Moby Dick, the narrator, Ishmael, confesses to "a damp, drizzly November in my soul." One sure way to brighten November's damp and drizzly mood is to welcome birds into your yard with birdfeeders. Black-oil sunflower seed is especially popular. Hang suet in a wire cage to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding

There’s Something About Penguins

There’s just something about penguins. Pleasantly plump, they stand upright and teeter like toddlers. Although often depicted in black and white, most are actually more colorful. Seven species have long, jaunty golden feather tufts above their eyes. King Penguins (like these) and Emperor Penguins... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

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