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Shows With Contributions by Mary McCann

White-crowned Sparrow

The White-crowned Sparrow pours out its song over and over on spring and summer days-and even on moonlit nights-often up to 15 times a minute. Now here's a curious thing: Just as people in different regions may have different dialects, White-crowns have different songs, according to where they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Baby Birds - Leave Them Alone

Just because a young bird appears to be alone – whether on the ground or squawking loudly from a bush or tree – doesn't necessarily mean it is sick or injured. In June, young birds, including this juvenile Northern Flicker, are leaving their nests. And most likely, a parent is near-by and will... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, rehabilitation

From Egg-laying to Hatching and Beyond

Waterfowl like this Muscovy duckling spend up to 30 days in the egg, so they’re able to walk, swim, and feed themselves as soon as they hatch. We call these chicks precocial. By contrast, the chicks of most songbirds spend less time maturing in the egg. They must continue to develop in the nest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, ornithology

Golden-crowned Sparrows in the Klondike

Words help us identify birds by vocalizations. Like the towhee's "Drink your tea,” or the Great Horned Owl’s “Who’s awake? Me, too…” Then there are the sweet, clear whistles of the Golden-crowned Sparrow. In the late 1890s, the gold prospectors of the Yukon may have imagined they were singing: ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Bushtits

Weighing about as much as four paperclips, Bushtits are smaller than many hummingbirds. And they take full advantage of their diminutive size. While larger insect-eaters forage on the upper surfaces of leaves, Bushtits hang beneath them, plucking all the tiny insects and spiders hiding out of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Night Voices - Nightjars

As darkness descends on a May evening, the voices of many birds go quiet. But for some birds, especially those known as nightjars, the music is just beginning! An Eastern Whip-poor-will shouts out its name. The call of a Common Poorwill echoes across a canyon. A Common Pauraque calls from the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear

Barn Swallows - Splendor in the Back Yard

This lovely creature is a Barn Swallow - notice the rich colors! A genuine master of the air, the swallow swoops low along the ground at high speed, changing direction in the blink of an eye. This prodigy has flown all the way from South America, to offer - without fee - its services as a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Birdsongs near Home

Who's in the neighborhood today? It's amazing how many birds you can see – and hear – when you go for a walk. There's a towhee... and a Steller's Jay ... now, a junco ... There's the "tin trumpet" sound of this Red-breasted Nuthatch. And the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is warming up, all because it's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Listening to Nuthatches

Nuthatches rank high on the list of favorite backyard birds. Compact and stub-tailed, they climb down tree trunks and along the underside of branches with comical ease. One at a time, they flit in for suet and sunflower seeds. But out in the woods, where they spend most of their time, nuthatches... read more »

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Endangered Species Day

This Golden-cheeked Warbler nests only in a Central Texas woodland. Its small breeding range is ever more fragmented by residential development, and its numbers are in serious decline. Endangered Species Day was established by Congress to acknowledge the plight of this warbler and many other... read more »

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