Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in flight against a partly cloudy sky, the bird's tail showing the classic split, its pale wings showing red on the underside where it meets the body.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nests in the open country of Texas, Oklahoma, and the south-central region. It's an elegant bird with a slender, deeply forked tail longer than its body. Agile in flight, it can spread and fold its tail, altering the surface area, like an extra pair of wings
Wandering Albatross flying low over the water, it's long gray wings stretched out, white body held horizontal, pink beak

Wandering Albatross Molt

Most birds molt and regrow their flight or wing feathers—one at a time along each wing—to stay in prime condition for flying. But for a Wandering Albatross, with a whopping 10- to 12-foot wingspan, that’s a big job! It takes the large albatrosses a full year to molt, and they have to put
Eurasian Magpie in the sunshine, seen in right profile, perched on a fence; it's crisp black, blue and white plumage shining

The Thieving Magpie?

Rossini’s 1815 opera, The Thieving Magpie, tells of a household maid who nearly goes to the gallows for stealing silver from her employers. At the last instant, it’s revealed that the thief was actually a magpie. The opera was so popular in its day that it’s believed to have helped cement
A Tricolored Blackbird seen in right profile, its black body shining in the sun, the wing showing a red patch with a white line beneath it.

Tricolored Blackbirds Face the Future

Tricolored Blackbirds nest primarily in California, but smaller groups breed from the state of Washington to Mexico’s Baja California. They look a lot like Red-winged Blackbirds, except Tricolored males have dark red epaulets and white bars on their wings instead of scarlet epaulets and
A Western Tanager with bright yellow plumage and red head on the left, a Scarlet Tanager with red body and black wings on the right.

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
Massive flocks of Snow Geese taking off from the Rainwater Basin area at sunrise, pink sky in background

Rainwater Basin

For 20,000 years, spring rains and melting snow have filled the playas of the Rainwater Basin of south-central Nebraska. As winter ends, ten million waterfowl rest and feed here before continuing north. The seasonal wetlands form a funnel for birds heading from the Gulf Coast and points
Singing Song Sparrow

How Birds Produce Sound

Nearly all birds produce sound through an organ unique to birds, the syrinx. In many songbirds, the syrinx is not much bigger than a raindrop. Extremely efficient, it uses nearly all the air that passes through it. By contrast, a human creates sound using only 2% of the air exhaled through
Cooper's Hawk splashing in a birdbath, its tail feathers raised and its chest feathers wet

Providing Water for Birds

From chickadees to Cooper’s Hawks, most birds love a good bath. Some birds get the fluids they need from their food, but many birds need a drink at least twice a day. Water is essential for birds, and supplying clean water for them to drink and bathe in is a great way to help maintain
Homing Pigeons perched on a roof

Homing Pigeons

Pigeon fanciers from around the world race specially bred homing pigeons over distances up to 600 miles. These stalwart and intelligent birds course the skies at speeds greater than 60 miles an hour. In 2005, a homing pigeon flying home to a loft in Norfolk, Virginia earned the record for
Sociable-Weaver nest

The Sociable Weaver's Colonial Nest

When it comes to nests, common sense suggests that large birds build large nests, and small birds build small nests. But in fact, some species of smaller birds build large nests. None, though, builds anything like the communal structures of Sociable Weavers in southern Africa’s arid plains