Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

Wilson's Plover on a beach

Life on the Beach with Wilson's Plovers

Along the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll find undeveloped sandy flats and shallow lagoons. This is prime habitat for Wilson’s Plovers to nest and raise their chicks. But life on the beach can be tough for birds. In many parts of its U.S. range on the Gulf and south Atlantic coasts, Wilson’s Plover
Ruddy Turnstone turning over a stone on the shore

Working Turnstones Turn Stones

In John James Audubon’s “Birds of America,” he profiled the peculiar sandpiper we know today as the Ruddy Turnstone. As he describes it, the bird bends its legs to half their length, places its bill beneath the object to be turned, and with a sudden quick jerk of the head pushes it over
Flammulated Owl perched in tree at night

Flammulated Owl

The Flammulated Owl is a study in camouflaged grays and browns, with cinnamon-brown shoulder straps and large brown eyes. This astute aerial predator stands a little more than six and a half inches tall, from its sharp-clawed feet to its stubby, ear-like tufts. It winters in southern
American Crows mobbing a raptor

Small Birds Mob Big Ones

When smaller birds join forces to ward off larger birds, it's called mobbing. This behavior — like calling your family for help — is used by many bird species. The best time to observe mobbing is spring and early summer, when breeding birds are trying to protect their nests and young
Peregrine Falcon attacking shorebirds, Samish Flats, Washington

Peregrine-Shorebird Interaction

Have you ever seen a Peregrine Falcon attack a flock of shorebirds, igniting a breathtaking aerial display? The late falcon researcher Steve Herman called this pattern of evasion "instantaneous synchronicity." The shorebird flock will often form a cone, with the sharpest point shifting
Male House Finch in close-up

Birds Have No External Ears

Unlike mammals, birds have no external ear structures. Their ear openings are hidden beneath feathers on the side of the head, just behind and slightly below the eyes. (It's easy to imagine where this House Finch's ear is, isn't it?) In mammals, the external ear structure helps funnel
Common Poorwill, male

Poorwills at Night

Close kin to the Whip-poor-will, the nocturnal Common Poorwill can be heard in summer in the rocky scrublands of the West at the deep end of dusk. And the Common Poorwill's greatest claim to fame? It was the first bird confirmed to hibernate, based on evidence verified in 1946. Since then
Pacific Golden-Plover

A Plover's Journey

Pacific Golden-Plovers, known as Kolea, winter in grassy, open areas of the Hawaiian islands by the tens of thousands. The birds return each fall to the same patch. Kolea spend nine months in Hawaii, but by late April, they form large flocks and head north, over the Pacific Ocean to, as
Common Gallinule

A Drive Along on a Bar Ditch

In the rural Southeast, roadside ditches – known as “bar ditches” – carry on for miles. The term bar ditch probably comes from their construction, when dirt was "borrowed" to build up the road. The ditches are full of water and full of life, these narrow wetlands. Herons stalk the shallow
Black Phoebe by Mick Thompson

Two Phoebes Share the West

In the American West, there are two species of phoebe that share the same expansive country. But they occupy different habitats. The Say’s Phoebe prefers dry, open country ranging from tundra to desert. This Black Phoebe is a close cousin to the Say’s. But it is nearly always hunting