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Shows With Contributions by Chris Peterson

Birdwatching 104 - A Summary

How do birdwatchers identify one species from another? First, they look carefully at the bird. What's the overall color? Is its bill long or short, thin or stout? What about its markings -- a ring around its eye or stripe on its head? What's your bird doing? Bird behavior can help you sort out... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Dawn in the Marsh

It's dawn in a western marsh in mid-summer, and man! Those birds are singin'! The males of more than a dozen species are staking out their territories and attracting mates. One of the noisiest of all is the Red-winged Blackbird. He sings not to attract just one mate, but to gather a whole harem!... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Peace in Wild Places

Wendell Berry wrote: When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests... Where do you go to rest and renew yourself in nature? Where do you come into the peace of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Black-faced Solitaire - Elusive Singer

In wet mountain forests of Costa Rica, a slate-gray bird like this one sings as it moves furtively in the dense understory. It’s the Black-faced Solitaire. Naturalist and birding guide Roger Melendez has been listening to its eerie and gorgeous song for over 20 years. But even Roger has a hard... read more »

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In Celebration of Earth Day

The populations of some birds have declined dramatically ... more than 80% in the past 40 years. Here are a few: the Northern Bobwhite, the Evening Grosbeak, the Northern Pintail, and the Boreal Chickadee. Common Terns ... like this one ... migrate along both coasts and through the interior to... read more »

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Restoring the Land - An Interview with Susan Freeman

Aldo Leopold, in A Sand County Almanac, described his family's efforts to restore their land to its natural state. Leopold's granddaughter, Susan Freeman, a piano teacher in Seattle, inherited that land ethic. When offered the chance to help restore a watershed on Western Washington's Olympic... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Biomimicry - Japanese Trains Mimic Kingfisher

High-speed passenger trains in Japan were once a real headache, because their engineering caused a "tunnel boom," a huge boom created by air being pushed out of the tunnel ahead of a train. But the chief engineer for the West Japan Railway Company was a birder, and he’d seen Eurasian... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Secretive Varied Thrush

Except in winter, when it gathers in loose flocks to move to lower elevations, this shy bird prefers solitude. The intricate pattern of color on its wings resembles dappled sunlight on the forest floor. Naturalist Louis Agassiz Fuertes called the song of the Varied Thrush, "... as perfectly the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, species account

Crow Funeral - with Tony Angell

Tony Angell, along with Professor John Marzluff of the University of Washington, wrote the book, Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans. Tony says, "A crow 'funeral' is where the deceased bird is surrounded by members of the same species,... read more »

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