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Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

American Kestrel

The American Kestrel is the smallest, most numerous, and most widespread North American falcon. This bird is built for speed, its long pointed wings often bent back at the tip. While hunting, kestrels hover above an open field. These days, the lack of suitable nesting cavities, which limits... read more »

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Jacana - Lily-trotter

The strange wading birds known as jacanas are nick-named "lily-trotters" for their ability to walk on lilypads. In Jamaica, they're known as "Jesus birds," because they appear to be walking on water — a feat made possible by their long toes. But that's not all that's cool about jacanas.... read more »

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Nest Cavities - Book Early

Tree Swallows and bluebirds — like this Western Bluebird — are among the earliest northbound migrants to arrive, heralding spring a month before the equinox. These species will nest only in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or man-made nestboxes. But the supply of specialized nest sites is... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Mockingbirds Are Southerners

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Northern Mockingbirds began nesting in the Northeastern states. In the 20th century, the birds expanded their range into Ohio and the upper Midwest. Much of California saw the arrival of mockingbirds in the 20th century, too. Habitat change due to humans... read more »

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The Crane Wife

Throughout history, the Japanese have viewed the crane as a symbol of good fortune. Because cranes mate for life, they also represent fidelity and honor. Visit SavingCranes.org, to learn more about the International Crane Foundation and the fight to save the Japanese Red-crowned Crane. Music in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14-17, 2020, is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Birdwatchers across the country count birds and then report the numbers on-line. Although it may seem that crows are everywhere, the Northern Cardinal is reported on the most lists nearly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, citizen science, science

Common Poorwills Can "Hibernate"

Common Poorwills don’t sing much when the mercury drops. But they can do something else that is remarkable. As the winter cold deepens, these petite members of the nightjar family can enter a hibernation-like state — and stay like that for hours — or even weeks! Scientists call it torpor. It... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Left Foot or Right? Handedness in Birds

A parrot’s eyes are located on the sides of its head. So, if it wants to look at something — say, a delicious piece of fruit — it has to cock its head one way or the other do it. And if it looks with its left eye, then uses its left foot. Scientists call this handedness. That’s when one hand — or... read more »

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Riding with Red-tails

Traveling home after a flight into Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, you might share a ride on the shuttle with a Red-tailed Hawk! To protect passengers, planes, and birds, airport biologists Steve Osmek and Bud Anderson capture raptors for relocation away from the airport. Then, as a public service,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Who, or What, Was Mother Goose?

Mother Goose was sometimes illustrated as an old country woman wearing a tall hat and riding on the back of a goose. Or sometimes as just a big, motherly goose wearing reading glasses and a bonnet, a friendly figure children could trust.Support for BirdNote comes from Seattle’s Portage Bay Café ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

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