Shows With Contributions by Mick Thompson

Canada Geese in flight

Canada Geese - Migratory or Not

It's the time of year that geese migrate south for the winter. Isn't it? So why are there so many geese still hanging around, setting up housekeeping on our parks and golf courses? Did they decide to forgo the long trip north? In the early 1900s, non-migratory geese were brought in by the
Brown Pelican coming in for landing, wings outstretched.

Protecting the Pelicans

Tim Arnold leads the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers in keeping Tybee Island, Georgia, free of plastic pollution and other trash. His favorite bird is the Brown Pelican. Its bulky, awkward appearance contrasts with its agility as it dives for fish. But Arnold worries that pelicans are
Northern Shrike

Who Was That Masked Bird?

Football and baseball players sometimes wear eye black to reduce glare from the sun or stadium lights. According to scientists, some birds — including many shrikes, like this Northern Shrike — have evolved a band of black feathers across their eyes that helps in the same way. The black
Iridescent green Talamanca Hummingbird hovering, poised to sip nectar from flowers.

What Makes an Efficient Flying Bird?

Every bird species uses its wings a little differently, and some are specialized for highly efficient flight. But that means going without other abilities. Swallows and hummingbirds (like this Talamanca Hummingbird) capture their food on the wing, but they can’t walk. Swifts, which are
Common Murre swimming

Murres' Swimming Migration - With Bob Boekelheide

When we think of avian migration, we generally think of birds in flight. But Common Murres migrate north by swimming. Some Pacific Coast murres paddle north to the sheltered bays of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to feed on herring and other small fish. During their ocean migration, the adult
Photo comparing a House Finch on the left and a Purple Finch on the right

Voices and Vocabularies: House Finch or Purple Finch

In parts of the United States, House Finches overlap with similar-looking Purple Finches. Their distinct songs help us sort them out. House Finch songs are jumbled and have a sharp, buzzy note — especially during the breeding season. Purple Finches’ songs, on the other hand, are smoother
Red-breasted Sapsucker clinging to side of tree, the bark with small holes pecked in it

Sapsuckers

Sapsuckers drill small holes in the bark of favored trees, then return again and again to eat the sap that flows out. And hummingbirds, kinglets, and warblers come to the sap wells to eat the insects trapped in the sap. Although a sapsucker - like this Red-breasted Sapsucker - may suck a
Northern Mockingbird perched on a branch against a clear blue sky, its head turned to the left and its beak open as it sings in the sunlight

Timothy Steele - Mockingbird

Many years ago, poet Timothy Steele had a Northern Mockingbird take up residence right outside his bedroom window. And the bird sang day and night. “I love mockingbirds generally,” Steele said, “but in this case, I did wish that this particular fellow would shut up! And I wrote the poem as
Northern Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whet Owls Hoot and Hoot

Northern Saw-whet Owls are common in forests across southern Canada and the northern U.S. In early autumn, many move southward, making a large concentration especially in the region of the Great Lakes. To our ear, the "advertising call" of the male, made mostly in spring and summer, sounds
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