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South America

Galapagos Penguins and the Tsunami - With Dee Boersma

University of Washington professor Dee Boersma is concerned about Galapagos Penguins because of the increased frequency of El Nino. So Dee's team and their partners at the Galapagos National Park recently built about 120 "penguin condos." These are lava burrows near the coast, most between half a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, nesting

Common Potoo with Nancy Rumbel

The Common Potoo is a nocturnal bird of Central and South America, known for its camouflage plumage and upright perching. Nancy Rumbel, who composed the theme music for BirdNote, improvises here with the call of the Common Potoo. Using the pentatonic scale of the potoo, Nancy responds with her... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

Montezuma Oropendola's High-Security Nesting

A male Montezuma Oropendola holds forth in a tree bedecked with twenty or more hanging nests. The nests are intricately woven sacks hanging three feet or more from the branches. Oropendolas favor trees that are separate from other trees and often build near large nests of wasps, whose stinging... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Montezuma Oropendola - The Golden Pendulum

In a clearing where an ancient Mayan city once stood, the Montezuma Oropendola perches and sings. His courtship display is astonishing: he swings by his feet and sings, his tail describing a golden pendulum - the very source of his name in Spanish - oropendola. read more »

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A New Year Dawns

Listen to the earth awaken, as dawn circles the globe. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton recorded these sounds around the globe. He's with SoundTracker. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Magellanic Penguins

Professor Dee Boersma, working with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Province of Chubut, has been studying the Magellanic Penguins of Argentina. "In 1983, we realized that oil pollution was really a huge problem for these birds. We were seeing birds coming ashore, covered in oil. We... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Hoatzin!

The Hoatzin is a strange bird, indeed! It looks like it was put together by a committee. But the way it looks isn't the only thing that sets this bird apart. The Hoatzin is strictly a leaf-eater, filling its stomach with leaves, and then resting and digesting for long periods. Chicks have... read more »

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Ecuador's Nature Reserves

Ecuador is home to 1,600 species of birds — twice the number in all of North America. Artist and naturalist Paul Greenfield, a long-time resident of Ecuador, has helped create conservation reserves, large and small. He feels that smaller reserves may have the best chance for long-term success.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Darwin's Birds

The finches of the Galapagos Islands are famous in the history of evolutionary theory. But Charles Darwin spent four years studying other birds as well, as the Beagle circumnavigated southern South America before reaching the Galapagos in 1835. It was not just the birds, but a lifetime of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Chickens Circle the Earth

Archaeological discoveries in Chile strongly suggest that chickens reached the New World about 100 years before the first Europeans. They apparently crossed the Pacific aboard outriggers piloted by Polynesian navigators. The DNA found in chicken bones in Chile resembles that of bones found in the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, science

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