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Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

Limpkin

It's dawn on a spring day in the Big Cypress Swamp of Florida. Mist rises from quiet water into Spanish moss hanging from the cypress branches. A Limpkin is foraging for apple snails. When it touches a big, round shell, it grabs it quickly and pulls it from the water. Then, moving to solid ground... read more »

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Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Raptor Breeding

It's April, but Great Horned Owls have been busy at their nests for two months. Golden Eagles are on their nests as early as the beginning of March. And Red-tailed Hawks (like this one) begin early, too. Why do these birds of prey nest so early? It takes a long time to raise a baby hawk or owl to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Double-Crested Cormorant

Sitting on a piling, wings outstretched, the Double-crested Cormorant looks like a black Celtic cross. Cormorants dive from the water's surface, pursuing prey under water, propelled by powerful webbed feet. The male performs a flashy wing-waving display to show off his colorful head-tufts and... read more »

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Sunning with Doves

A Mourning Dove lies belly down on the soil of a garden bed. It fluffs its feathers, then relaxes its wings, draping them outward to expose fully its back and rump to the morning sun. A great many birds sun themselves, often in postures that give maximum sun exposure to the head, neck, and upper... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Sharp-tailed Grouse on a Lek

During spring at Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota, male Sharp-tailed Grouse  - like the one pictured here - perform their elaborate mating dances on a matted patch of ground called a lek. They stomp their feet, extend their wings, and zip around the lek. Then, in an instant,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, science

Bird Songs of April

The month of April inspires poets, sometimes with contradictory results. Poet TS Eliot describes April as "the cruelest month." Shakespeare strikes an upbeat note, writing "April hath put a spirit of youth in everything." Let April speak for itself. Listen to the birds. In Southeastern Alaska,... read more »

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Tanagers - Coffee Birds

This Scarlet Tanager (R), its cousin the Western Tanager (L), and your latte have a connection. Much of the birds' prime wintering habitat has been turned into coffee plantations. When shade-giving trees are cut down to grow coffee in direct sunlight, the tanagers' winter habitat is also removed.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Music Inspired by Chicks Hatching - Mussorgsky and Ravel

Inspired by a talented friend's painting called "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks," Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky wrote a piano piece as part of his famous work Pictures at an Exhibition. The composition was later orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. Have you ever watched a baby bird peck its way... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Florida Scrub-Jay

Thousands of years ago, rising sea levels isolated much of the Florida peninsula as an island. During that long isolation, a unique oak-scrub ecosystem developed. The Florida Scrub-Jay is one of many special animals and plants that evolved with this habitat. Because they depend on acorns during... read more »

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