Shows With Contributions by Mary McCann

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope

If any bird is an anomaly, it's the Wilson's Phalarope. In a birdbook, Wilson's Phalaropes are found among the sandpipers. But they forage while swimming. Spinning like tops, they create an upwelling, pulling food to the surface. The breeding of Wilson's Phalaropes is anomalous, too
Rainbow Lorikeet foraging in flowers

Birds as Pollinators

Birds are part of the complex web of Nature, and each fits into this web in its own way. Some even pollinate flowers! While feeding at a flower, this Rainbow Lorikeet gets pollen on its forehead and throat. When it visits another flower of the same species, it transfers the pollen to that
Tony Angell's bronze Common Ravens

Tony Angell on the Raven

Tony Angell reflects: "It's a cloudless summer day as I listen to ravens behind me in the woods. There's an endless repertoire of croaks, krawks, barks, yelps, and yodels. Other ravens across the bay respond in kind, and I imagine that this is a day of poetry and perhaps a few jokes shared
Arthur A. Allen of Cornell on Sapsucker Woods

An Evening in Sapsucker Woods - With A.A. Allen

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the world. In 1958, Arthur Allen, the lab’s founder, described An Evening in Sapsucker Woods: “There is a charming spot in the Finger Lakes country of central New York that we know as Sapsucker Woods. Friends
Kestrel nestlings in a nest box

Kestrels Love Nest Boxes

This American Kestrel evolved to nest in tree cavities or small caves in cliffs. We humans have made life difficult for kestrels. Development has shrunk the open spaces they need. We’ve cleared away dead trees they rely on for nests and sprayed pesticides that eliminate the insects the
Great Horned Owl juvenile

Great Horned Owl Family in Summer

In late July, the Great Horned Owl chicks that we have been following are four and a half months old, and must fend for themselves much of the time. The young birds continue to learn valuable lessons by watching the adults hunt. Their first hunting forays were clumsy. But by late July
Savannah Sparrow singing

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrows are abundant in open habitats throughout North America. In spring, they migrate north from the Southern US and Mexico to open agricultural fields, meadows, coastal grasslands, saltmarshes, and even tundra to breed and raise young. They nest on the ground and walk, run, or
Steller's Sea Eagle

Steller's Birds

In July, 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller set foot on land later known as Alaska, the first European to do so. Steller was a German naturalist on the St. Peter, a Russian ship exploring the Bering Sea. He was shipwrecked on Bering Island for over a year, and later wrote a book about the
Red-winged Blackbird gaping its beak while foraging

Gaping Blackbirds

Gordon Orians describes an unusual adaptation in blackbirds called gaping: "...the ability to forcibly open the bill against some pressure, so that a bird can push its bill into the base of a grass clump, and forcibly open it, which reveals the insects that may be down hidden in the base.
Common Poorwill, male

Birds That Say Their Own Names

Some birds, such as the Northern Bobwhite, take their names from their songs or vocalizations: "Bobwhite! Bobwhite!" The Killdeer is another bird named for its song: "Kill-dee, kill-dee, kill-dee." There are others. "Poorwill, poorwill, poorwill" calls this Common Poorwill. This bird is