Shows With Contributions by Minette Layne

Rufous Hummingbird on her nest

Rufous Hummingbirds' Marvelous Nest

The nest-building skills of the female Rufous Hummingbird are amazing. She first weaves a cup of soft, fluffy plant material, then envelops it with moss and binds it with strands of spider web. The final touch: a layer of lichen flakes to provide perfect camouflage. A favorite nest site is
Raven in profile

The Benefits of a Raven's Black Feathers

It turns out, a raven's black plumage works quite well in the desert. Black feathers do conduct the sun’s warming rays, but they concentrate that solar heat near the feathers’ surface. All it takes is a breeze from the wind, or from flying, to move all that heat away from the surface of

Sound Escapes - Morning on the Big Island

It’s a warm summer morning on the western shore of the Big Island of Hawaii. A native 'Apapane is foraging in the brush. It’s early, the sun is rising, and the tide is coming in. The Pacific Ocean is “Peaceful Ocean,” and its beat is something that permeates every place you go on the
Pair of Barred Owls perched on a branch

Here Come the Barred Owls

The emphatic hoots of a pair of Barred Owls resonate in the still of a winter's night. Like many owls, Barred Owls initiate their vocal courtship in winter. And they're among the most vocal. These owls have more than a dozen calls, ranging from a "siren call" to a "wail" to a wonderfully

Long-Distance Migration Takes Fuel and Water

Long-distance migration can be hard on a bird’s body. For example, this Swainson’s Thrush might migrate between northern Canada and South America, twice a year. In the weeks before such a long journey and during key stopovers en route, the thrush eats like crazy to put on fat. But during

The Jay Game

Many jays, including this California Scrub-Jay, store food for sustenance in harsher seasons. An individual bird may cache nuts, insects, and even worms in several thousand spots. If jays visit your yard, here’s a game you can play with them. Each day, preferably when the jays aren’t

How Young Birds Learn Songs

Within two weeks of hatching, a young male Bewick's Wren is already out of the nest, skulking in the shrubbery. Over the next couple of weeks, the fledgling will learn at least 15 different song variations his father sings. After he wanders off to find his own territory, about a mile from