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Shows With Contributions by Monica Gokey

Bearded Vultures Return Home to Europe

With its enormous size and black tuft of a beard, the Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture, has a stark appearance. These distinctive birds erroneously acquired a reputation for killing livestock and stealing babies, which led to relentless persecution and eventual disappearance from much of Europe.... read more »

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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

Western Tanagers Are Flashes of Bright Color

Western Tanagers dart from tree to tree, on the lookout for delicious bugs. They’ll find them by scanning the tree bark — or maybe snatching them from mid-air during flight — a tactic called hawking. Come winter, these lovely songbirds head south, where they fit right in with the other brightly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Convocations, Coveys and Charms

Everybody’s heard of a gaggle of geese and a covey of quail. But what’s a group of penguins called? And a “conspiracy” of ravens? Maybe the way we label birds says more about us than it does about them.Support for BirdNote comes from American Bird Conservancy and Bringing Back the Birds, a photo... read more »

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Anna's Hummingbird: Thriving in Our Shadow

The Anna’s Hummingbird has undergone a major range expansion since the 1930s. And that’s largely due to humans. One study found that Anna’s Hummingbirds tend to colonize new locations, even cold ones, based on housing density — that is, how many people live there — and the availability of nectar... read more »

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Ptarmigan Toes

With its rubbery-sounding rattles and clownish red eyebrows, the ptarmigan is quite the stand-out northern bird. As winter approaches, the ptarmigan’s feet grow feathers, and its claws grow longer. All that added surface area means the ptarmigan practically has its own set of snowshoes.Today’s... read more »

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Big She, Little He (in Raptors)

In many birds, plumage is often the easiest way to tell males from females. But in raptors, size is often the best indicator of sex. In many bird and mammal species, males are larger than females. But in birds of prey, including Ospreys, hawks, falcons and eagles, the rule is reversed. It’s... read more »

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Burrowing Owls: Howdy Birds

A Burrowing Owl is about as big as a can of beans on stilts. Between the long legs, bright yellow eyes, and signature bobbing salute, these little birds are comical members of the western ecosystem. Cowboys riding Western rangelands have a nickname for these little owls. They call them “howdy... read more »

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Peeps? Butterbutts? What are these birders talking about?

People who watch birds have developed nicknames and a whole lingo to talk about the birds they love. But don’t feel like you have to know everything – or anything! Birders love to share. Peeps are sandpipers. Can you guess what butterbutts are? Listen to today’s episode and find out!BirdNote... read more »

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Have You Ever Seen a Tom Turkey's Beard?

With his brilliantly colored plumage fanned out in display, this tom (male) Wild Turkey is a handsome sight to behold. He has a bright red head, long spurs, and… a beard. This “beard” is a small cluster of bristles that sprouts from the bird’s chest plumage. It looks like a misplaced ponytail.... read more »

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