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Shows With Contributions by Mary McCann

Vivaldi's Goldfinch

Bird song caught the ear of Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. And he even named a 1729 flute concerto for a bird — the goldfinch. The source of inspiration for Vivaldi's Goldfinch concerto, or Il Gardellino, was the European Goldfinch, a tiny bird found throughout much of Europe, where it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Advice to Beginning Birders from David Sibley

David Sibley, creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, offers this advice for learning to identify birds such as this Warbling Vireo: “Spend time at home, paging through the field guide . . . by flipping through the pages of the book and looking at pictures and reading the names, you... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, environmental champion

What Audubon Saw

Over the course of John James Audubon’s life, even in the 1800s, he noticed how quickly people were changing the wilderness. Today, hundreds of local, state and national Audubon societies fight for birds and the environment in his name. read more »

Birdsong Therapy

Where some noises — like TV, traffic and random conversations — can make it hard to concentrate, birdsong may make it easier. In Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, the sweet sounds of birdsong carry along the hallways. In an Amsterdam airport, a lounge plays bird sounds to help... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Bird Life at the Grand Canyon

With its awe-inspiring vistas and eons of geologic time on display, the Grand Canyon also offers a unique habitat for birds. What you're likely to see first is this Bronzed Cowbird, strutting on the lawn of a lodge or restaurant. Common Ravens call and squabble. If you're lucky, you may spot the... read more »

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Northern Goshawks and Fire

Among the great firs and Ponderosa pines of Stanislaus National Forest in central California, Northern Goshawk nestlings crowd a platform nest of branches and pine needles halfway up a mature fir tree. In 2013, what’s known as the Rim Fire occurred, and some of the area burned with high intensity... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Magnificent Frigatebird Drum Roll

Magnificent Frigatebirds are huge, gangly seabirds found around the warm waters of the Western Hemisphere. When it comes time to mate, males inflate giant red throat sacs, then rattle and drum their bills against them to create jazzy percussive sounds. read more »

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Marsh Voices at Sunrise

In marshes across the country, birds awaken on a summer morning. Tall dense grasses and reeds often make marsh birds hard to see, but their voices carry easily across the lush, green landscape. You can hear birds like the Redhead, the Sora, the American Bittern, the Ruddy Duck, this Yellow-headed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Double-jointed Hawks and Convergent Evolution

Crane Hawks of Central and South America and African Harrier-Hawks both have legs that bend forward and backward. Each bird’s wonderfully peculiar leg adaptation is completely original - it evolved all on its own - even though the end result is the same. Scientists call this convergent evolution. read more »

Mountain Walk with Bird Songs

A hike through the mountains of the West, from the lowlands to the rocky alpine zones, reveals an incredibly diverse array of beautiful birds: Swainson’s Thrushes, Pine Grosbeaks, American Pipits and so many more to be found. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, vocalization

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