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Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

The Oystercatcher's World

Black Oystercatchers prey on shellfish in the wave zone, especially mussels and limpets. The waves cause mussels to open often, making them easier to eat. The Black Oystercatcher nests on ledges just off shore, and its eggs and young suffer far less predation by mammals. Contrary to their name,... read more »

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In Winter, Puffins Lead Very Different Lives

Every summer, puffins — like this Horned Puffin — grow blazingly colorful layers over the bases of their huge beaks. But in the winter, puffins lead very different lives, and they shed their bright ornamentation. Puffins in winter are largely solitary — and silent. They spend about seven months... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

The Music of Black Scoters

Black Scoters are sea ducks that spend the winter on saltwater bays. They are large, strong ducks and buoyant swimmers with a habit of cocking their tails upward. Black Scoters nest each summer on freshwater tundra ponds. Each fall, they can be found on bays all across the Northern Hemisphere. An... read more »

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Fancy Fruit-doves in the South Pacific

Fruit-doves are forest-dwelling doves of the South Pacific found on island groups like the Philippines and New Guinea. There are 54 species of fruit-doves, most about the size of a Mourning Dove or smaller, and they do indeed eat fruit. The combinations of bold colors in fruit-doves are unmatched... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: Banding Hummingbirds

BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited the outskirts of Big Bend National Park in Texas to meet with Kelly Bryan, a retired park manager and biologist who spends his days placing tiny bands on hummingbirds to better know their habits. Kelly has banded more than 14,000 birds!Funding for the... read more »

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Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: An Oasis for Birds

Carolyn Ohl-Johnson found a home — and a way of life — near Big Bend National Park. BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited Carolyn at the desert oasis she created for birds such as this Rivoli's Hummingbird. But her accomplishment has required tremendous sacrifice. “I haven’t seen my great... read more »

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Late Fall Sounds to Listen For

By the time November rolls around, the bird songs of summer can seem a distant memory.But there’s always something to listen for. Small birds like chickadees and kinglets, including the Golden-crowned Kinglet pictured here, often mix in flocks while foraging. Geese can be heard overhead in the... read more »

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Chickadee Brains Are Bigger in the Cold

As the colder months arrive, birds that remain in northern climates face the harsh realities of staying warm and finding food. Some birds approach the food problem by storing it in advance — a behavior called caching. Chickadees, nuthatches, jays, and some woodpeckers are known to cache large... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Welcoming Back Winter Birds

Although we may think of autumn as the end of the growing season, a sort of winding down in the natural world, for birds it’s as much a season of renewal as the spring. In the colder months, we welcome back our winter birds — juncos, swans, and more — which spent the summer in their breeding... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching

Songbirds: The Large and Small of It

The group of birds called “songbirds” — the perching birds — is incredibly broad. Half the world’s 10,000 birds are in the songbird group, and their range of body sizes is mind-boggling. One of the smallest songbirds in North America is the Golden-crowned Kinglet, barely larger than a hummingbird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, ornithology

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