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Shows With Contributions by Paul Bannick

Steller's Birds

In July, 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller set foot on land later known as Alaska, the first European to do so. Steller was a German naturalist on the St. Peter, a Russian ship exploring the Bering Sea. He was shipwrecked on Bering Island for over a year, and later wrote a book about the creatures that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Sounds of the Boreal Forest

The boreal forest is a vast band of spruce and poplar, extending from coast to coast across Alaska and Canada. Called North America's "songbird bread-basket," for a brief time, it teems with song. Birdsongs heard on this show include a Common Loon (like this one), Swainson's Thrush, White... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, vocalization

Band-tail, Pigeon of the Woods

Band-tailed Pigeons are found mostly in low-altitude forests. Though about the size of city pigeons, they can be shy and sometimes hard to see. Strictly a bird of the western states, the Band-tailed Pigeon is decreasing in numbers. This is probably because the forests that the pigeons depend on... read more »

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White-headed Woodpecker

The White-headed Woodpecker is widely scattered and nowhere common in the Pacific Northwest. Like other woodpeckers, the White-headed Woodpecker digs out juicy insect larvae from the trees by pounding with its sharp bill. But by holding its bill at an angle, the White-headed Woodpecker... read more »

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Hermit Thrush: Ethereal Singer

High in the mountains of the West and North, where the long summer days stay cool, the song of the Hermit Thrush stands out. The song has been described as "ethereal," "serene," or "flutelike." Writer Ralph Hoffman writes about the song of the Hermit Thrush: "It is the opening note that gives the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Instrumental Bird Sounds

Birds communicate with a fascinating array of instrumental sounds, and nearly all are made with their feathers or bills. The territorial drumming of a woodpecker - like this Black-backed Woodpecker - is one example. American Crows clatter their beaks to make rattling sounds. And the remarkable... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound

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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Lazuli Bunting

With its beautiful colors, the Lazuli Bunting might just have inspired Navajo artists. In summer, these beautiful singers inhabit the brushy canyons of Western mountains. And where the Lazuli Bunting sings, you'll often hear the music of Vesper Sparrows and Western Meadowlarks. read more »

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Red-winged Blackbird Harem

As spring begins, the male Red-winged Blackbird brandishes his red epaulets to warn other males away from his patch of cattails. At the same time, he sings to lure females into his marsh...many females, in fact. One male may attract up to a dozen females. The male is dressed for defending his... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Drumming with Woodpeckers - West

Early spring in the West resounds with the percussive hammering of woodpeckers. Their rhythmic drumming functions as other birds' songs do, to broadcast over a long distance a clear statement of territory and mating rights. Learn about this Pileated Woodpecker and the others in this show - the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

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