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Shows With Contributions by Mary McCann

Monk Parakeets

If you live in North America, parrots might seem like exotic creatures. North America’s once-common native species, the Carolina Parakeet, has been extinct since the early 20th Century. But more and more parrots are making this continent their home. Escaped Monk Parakeets now have self-sustaining... read more »

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Chickadees on a Cold Night - Interview with Susan Sharbaugh

The Black-capped Chickadees of Fairbanks, Alaska, endure nights as cold as 40 degrees below zero. Dr. Susan Sharbaugh, a scientist at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has studied them. She says that each chickadee wedges itself into a tiny cavity. Then the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Mistaken Identity

This Band-tailed Pigeon may sound like an owl, but it's a case of mistaken identity. The song of the American Robin could be confused with that of the Black-headed Grosbeak. And then, there's the Black-capped Chickadee. At certain times of year, the male sings "Fee-bee, fee-bee," even though it's... read more »

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Woodpeckers Carve Out Roost Cavities, Too

In spring, we often hear woodpeckers hard at work, carving out nest holes in tree trunks. And now that fall has arrived, we may hear that excavating sound again. Some woodpecker species stay year round in the region where they nest, while others migrate south in winter. Those that remain, like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Why Birds Collide with Buildings

Who among us hasn’t almost walked into a glass door? Birds though, especially when migrating, run the risk of colliding with reflective glass in urban areas. With millions of birds dying from collisions every year, it’s heartening to know that bird-friendly lighting and design options are... read more »

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Stowaway Cockatoo Takes a Cruise

A beautiful Rose-breasted Cockatoo named Harri took the adventure of a lifetime. She set off unseen on a cruise ship from Brisbane, Australia, and wasn’t discovered until the ship neared New Zealand. Authorities there were not happy to see Harri, whose species is the bane of farmers in her native... read more »

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The Secret Lives of Goldfinches

American Goldfinches are one of our most familiar birds, but they lead lives that are anything but ordinary. These birds will sometimes raise two broods a year, have a secret weapon against cowbirds, and have the ability to distinguish between songs that — to our ears — sound the same. Backyard... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

Chicago Volunteers Rescue Birds

In many urban areas, collisions are the fate of hundreds of thousands of birds, like this Brown Creeper. But Annette Prince and volunteers with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors are making a difference. Every morning during spring and fall migration, Annette and her team rescue birds that have... read more »

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Who Likes Suet?

Chickadees and titmice, nuthatches and jays, and woodpeckers, like the Pileated pictured here, all love suet. As do birds whose beaks can’t open seeds, like tiny kinglets, and almost any wintering warbler. The Brown Creeper, usually creeping up tree trunks, is a cool bird to discover at your suet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

Rachel Carson’s Muse

Rachel Carson found inspiration in the work of 19th-century writer Richard Jefferies, whose work helped Carson develop her deep sense of connection with the natural world. Jefferies wrote: "Consider the grasses and the oaks, the swallows, the sweet blue butterfly — they are one and all a sign and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

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