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Shows With Contributions by Gordon Orians

Connectivity

Migratory birds connect the Northern Plains with many parts of the Western Hemisphere. Barn and Cliff Swallows, McCown's Longspurs, this Lark Bunting, and many other birds winter from Central to southern South America. But their reproduction depends on the bounty of the prairie spring. Disrupting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

American Redstart - The Tale Is in the Tail

Who knew that this American Redstart’s feathers could reveal so much information about its life? For example, the more intense the color of a male American Redstart’s feathers, the better his chances of holding a good winter territory, which means access to good nutrition. Being well fed and in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, ecology, migration, plumage

Winter - Nature's Cold Storage

For birds and other animals with good natural insulation, winter provides a striking benefit as they scavenge. Bacteria function very slowly or not at all in the cold, preventing dead bodies from rotting. In northern latitudes, ravens and other scavenging birds take advantage of winter's cold... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

Megapodes - Mound-Builders

There’s a group of birds that lay their eggs underground — in geothermally heated burrows, or  warm sands, or even mounds of organic material warmed by the heat of decomposition. These megapodes or mound-builders — like this Australian Brushturkey — are found in Australia, New Guinea, and... read more »

Ecosystem Engineers on America's Serengeti

Some birds require habitats created by other animals. Two such landscape shapers were the American bison and the prairie dog. With the extermination of millions of bison and prairie dogs, species such as this Mountain Plover and the Burrowing Owl, which require barren ground, greatly declined.... read more »

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Snail Kite - Bird of the Everglades

When Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature declared the Everglades, America's largest wetland, totally worthless. In 1905, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was elected governor on a campaign to drain them. So over the years, the slowly flowing "River of Grass" has been replaced by a series of... read more »

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Birds and Climate Change - Places for Birds to Go

The climate of the earth is changing rapidly, and birds are responding accordingly. Of the 305 species found in North America in winter, nearly 60% have shifted their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles. As some places become unsuitable for the birds now living there, new areas will become... read more »

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Why Should You Care About Birds?

Gordon Orians, BirdNote science advisor and blackbird expert, believes we should appreciate nature “simply because of its intrinsic wonder.” He says, “Often people would ask me, 'What good are blackbirds?’ and I would sometimes answer by saying, 'Well, what good is a symphony orchestra?' It turns... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection, science

Birds Are Evolving Rapidly - Today

House Finches are evolving rapidly and visibly. In 1941, some captive House Finches from California escaped near NYC. They spread rapidly and are now found across most of the US. We know the finches have evolved, because those that survive differ from their parents. Size is one example. Male... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ornithology

Alexander Archipelago - Lessons for Climate Change

How will birds and other wildlife respond to global climate change? We can learn many lessons from the Alexander Archipelago, a chain of islands in southeast Alaska. Less than 10,000 years ago, these islands were covered by ice. Sea levels were 100 meters lower than today, allowing many species... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

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