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Shows With Contributions by Ashley Ahearn

Pigeons Love Cities - But We Loved Them First

Though some might see them as winged rats in today’s cities, pigeons have a long-standing bond with people -- especially in our urban environment. From Mesopotamia, 7000 years ago, to the urban skyscrapers of today, pigeons have been a constant. They’ve served as meat and sacrifices, navigators... read more »

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Charles Darwin and the White Tern

On a stop at the Cocos Islands near Sumatra, the naturalist Charles Darwin described his first encounter with a special little bird. He wrote: “It is a small snow-white tern, which smoothly hovers at the distance of a few feet above one’s head, its large black eye scanning, with quiet curiosity,... read more »

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When Does a Crossbill's Bill Cross?

A young crossbill starts life with a wedge-shaped beak. As it grows up and starts to feed itself by removing conifer seeds from their tough packaging, the tips of its bill begin to grow rapidly — and then they cross. By the time the bird is a month and a half old, the tips of its bill become... read more »

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Rhea Nesting Is Mind-boggling

A typical bird nest will have maybe four to six eggs neatly arranged by the parent to hunker down on. But in one Rhea nest, you may find between 50 and 80 eggs! And they’re not all from the same set of parents. Male Rheas mate with several females and then build a single nest on the ground to... read more »

Herons Go Fishing

Any fisherman will tell you that to catch a fish, you need the right bait, the perfect spot by the water’s edge, and patience. While they don’t use the traditional line-and-tackle, Striated Herons have mastered these fishing techniques.Today’s show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation. read more »

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The Oilbird's Lightless Life

Nature has produced some exceptionally strange animals. One such creature is the Oilbird of northern South America. The Oilbird prefers a diet of wild berries and fruits, especially lipid-rich fruits like palm nuts and avocados (which leads to fatty young and the Oilbird's name). This... read more »

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The Majestic Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcons are the largest falcons in the world, with a wingspan of almost four feet and weighing almost five pounds. The name “Gyrfalcon” derives from an Old Norse word for “spear.” During the summer, you’ll find Gyrfalcons on the tundra, where they feed on arctic birds. But in the winter, some... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Are Northern Forest Owls Coming South This Winter?

The boreal forest stretches across Canada and Alaska, a huge expanse of woods, wetlands and wilderness. And it’s full of magnificent forest owls that depend on mice and other rodents for food. Those populations can boom and bust, so in lean years, hungry owls often fly as far south as the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

The Benefits of a Raven's Black Feathers

It turns out, a raven's black plumage works quite well in the desert. Black feathers do conduct the sun’s warming rays, but they concentrate that solar heat near the feathers’ surface. All it takes is a breeze from the wind, or from flying, to move all that heat away from the surface of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, plumage

Giblets and Gizzards

A bird’s stomach is divided into two parts. The first part is a lot like our stomach; it’s filled with digestive juices to break down food. But the second part — that’s the bird’s gizzard. It’s a strong, muscular pouch that breaks down hard foods like seeds and nuts.Support for BirdNote comes... read more »

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