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Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

Kipukas and Akis

One of Hawaii’s rarest forest birds is this ‘Akiapola’au. Some of the roughly 1,000 'Akis left on earth live and breed in kipukas on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii’s largest active volcano. A kipuka is an island of native forest surrounded not by water but by recent lava flows - a green... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Kakapo Boom Through the Night

Kakapos are large, flightless parrots unique to New Zealand. Hoping to attract females, several males gather in a “lek.” They sing at the same time, and the deep-pitched notes carry a long distance. Females may wander in from as much as a mile away. This booming competition goes on for several... read more »

Mark Twain and Tropicbirds

When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866, he was able to inspect a live volcano, Halema’uma’u, which he described as “a crimson cauldron.” Twain concluded his impressions of the hellish scene by writing, “The smell of sulfur is strong, but not unpleasant to a sinner.” That eruption came to an end... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Do Crows Sing?

It’s been said that if someone knows only three birds, one of them will be the crow. They’re common, easy to see, and even easier to hear. But crow voices are complicated. Altogether, crows may use 30 sound elements in different combinations, and one of the most intriguing is their song. Unlike... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Sibelius and the Swans

In April 1915, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote in his diary about seeing 16 Whooper Swans overhead. He was entranced by both the sight and the sound of the swans. He watched them depart — “like a gleaming silver ribbon,” — and declared the image one of the great experiences of his life. And... read more »

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Bird Poop and Fish Eggs

Scientists have long suspected that bird poop may play a role in the dispersal of fish species to new bodies of water. After seeing a fish egg in a fecal sample from a wild Coscoroba Swan in Brazil, a scientist staged an experiment to see whether killifish eggs could endure a trip through the... read more »

Bobolinks and Grasslands

Male Bobolinks are first to arrive on their breeding grounds in the grasslands. Why are there fewer Bobolinks than in decades past? Probably because the landscape of North America has changed so much. Bobolinks originally nested on native prairies of the Midwest and southern Canada. Much of the... read more »

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The Diminutive Downy Woodpecker

As part of their spring courtship, Downy Woodpeckers perform a spectacular "butterfly flight." The birds seem to dance in the air, holding their wings high, and flapping slowly and lazily like butterflies. It's the smallest woodpecker in North America, and you might miss it, as it pecks for... read more »

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Do Alligators Protect Herons?

Raccoons sometimes invade nesting colonies of herons, spoonbills, and other wading birds to eat their eggs and chicks. But some of these birds have found ways to deter the masked bandits. Researchers in the Everglades found wading birds including Great Blue Herons and Roseate Spoonbills, among... read more »

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Spring Serenade in the Ozarks, With Steve Hilty

The Buffalo National River in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas was the first "national river" in the US. The river, part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, runs undammed for 135 miles. Its forest habitat is a great place for birds and other wildlife. There are at least 18 species of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, sound

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