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Shows With Contributions by Mary McCann

Regal Great Blue Heron

Tall and prehistoric-looking, the Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America. Great Blue Herons are often seen flying high overhead with slow wing-beats. When foraging, they stand silently along riverbanks, on lake shores, or in wet meadows. Quickly then, they stab at their prey.... read more »

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Northern Saw-whet Owls - Common but Unknown

Northern Saw-whet Owls reveal we have much to learn about the world of birds. Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul shares his insight: “Here’s a species that up until the early to mid-1990s was considered to be rare in most of its range . . . It turns out this is one of the most common forest... read more »

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Conserving Canada's Boreal Forests

The vast Canadian boreal forest provides breeding habitat for almost half of North America's migratory ducks, geese, and songbirds - including this Olive-sided Flycatcher. But the boreal forest is under increasing pressure from logging, mining, the development of petroleum, infestations of pine... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting

Ecuador's Nature Reserves

Ecuador is home to 1,600 species of birds — twice the number in all of North America. Artist and naturalist Paul Greenfield, a long-time resident of Ecuador, has helped create conservation reserves, large and small. He feels that smaller reserves may have the best chance for long-term success.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Franklin's Gull - The Half-time Seagull

Gulls are often called "seagulls," but many spend a lot of time far away from the sea. The Franklin's Gull breeds in freshwater wetlands more than 5,000 miles from its winter home at the ocean. After the breeding season, they ascend high in the sky for their long flight across the Equator to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Storks and Babies

Storks and babies have been linked together for centuries. But how did that old legend get started? Researchers suggest that the legend goes back to pagan times, when civilizations were keen to have high birthrates. The myth of storks and babies was forged by the birds' return in spring, when... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, human interaction

Winter Brings Falcons

A Merlin — like this one — hunts boldly from a high perch. A Peregrine Falcon dives on a hapless pigeon, with an air speed approaching 200 miles per hour. The Gyrfalcon can fly down even the fastest waterfowl in a direct sprint. A Prairie Falcon blends in with its background. And the smallest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Canada Jays Save Food for Later

While camping in the mountains, you might see this Canada Jay (formerly known as the Gray Jay — but before that, as the Canada Jay!), boldly swooping into your camp. This handsome jay’s big, black eyes seem to miss nothing — especially food. But the one food Canada Jays don’t eat is conifer seeds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Burrowing Snowbirds

Light, fluffy snow can be up to 90% trapped air — just the thing to keep birds and other animals warm. Ptarmigan spend winter nights in cozy caves they excavate in snow. During truly harsh weather, they will hunker down in their caves through the short arctic day, too. Common Redpolls break... read more »

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The Verdin’s Winter Roosts

For small songbirds, surviving a cold winter night can be challenging. Their bodies lose heat faster than those of larger birds. So little birds have found resourceful ways to stay warm — like huddling close together with other birds. But the Verdin, a tiny bird of the Southwest, does something... read more »

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