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Bond. James Bond. Birdwatcher.

The real James Bond was born in Philadelphia in 1900 and worked as a banker after college. But his first love was the natural world. Eventually, he kissed the banking world goodbye and dedicated the rest of his life to exploring and documenting birds and nature. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Robin Orange-breast

Look closely and you’ll see: the European Robin’s breast isn’t red. It’s actually a distinctly orange color. So why “Redbreast” and not, you know, “Orange-breast”? It may be because the word “orange” just wasn’t an option when the bird was named. Oranges — the fruit — first arrived in England in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Who, or What, Was Mother Goose?

Mother Goose was sometimes illustrated as an old country woman wearing a tall hat and riding on the back of a goose. Or sometimes as just a big, motherly goose wearing reading glasses and a bonnet, a friendly figure children could trust.This show is made possible by Jim and Birte Falconer of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

The Owl and the Pussy-cat Went to Sea

During much of his life, Edward Lear, the poet who wrote The Owl and the Pussy-cat, was known for his paintings. Lear’s first major project was a book of paintings of parrots, inspired in part by the friendship and mentoring of John James Audubon. He spent years traveling the globe, painting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, language

A Brief History of Cars Named for Birds

Birds can be sleek, aerodynamic, and powerful — all in one package. Automakers picked up on this early: a cool bird name will sell cars. So far, more than twenty models of cars have been named for birds — some real, some mythical — and they go way back.Ford Thunderbirds, Buick Skylarks, Plymouth... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, humor

A Bird Walk 65 Million Years Ago

For today’s bird walk, we’re going to need binoculars, sunscreen, hiking boots, annnnnd a time machine. Let’s set our course for the late Cretaceous Era, 65 million years ago. Stay alert! There are dinosaurs all around us, of all sizes — and appetites — including some of the earliest birds, like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, science

The Legendary Phoenix

The ancient Greeks and Egyptians described a mythical bird called the Phoenix, a magnificent creature that was a symbol of renewal and rebirth. According to legend, each Phoenix lived for 500 years, and only one Phoenix lived at a time. Just before its time was up, the Phoenix built a nest and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

How Geese Made History

It was the wing feathers of geese that supplied most of the quill pens that were humanity’s prime writing tool for more than 1200 years—from the 6th century until the 1820s, when steel pens took over. The lightweight goose quill has a hollow shaft ideal for storing ink. With a smooth, light... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Ulm Sparrows

As an old story from Germany goes, workers building the world’s tallest church were preparing to install an immensely long beam, but they couldn’t get it through the city gate. Preparing to dismantle the city wall to clear a path to the construction site, workers saw a House Sparrow carry a long... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Cetti's Warbler

It took centuries to match the Cetti’s Warbler, a secretive singer, to its disembodied song. In 1819 Italian naturalist Alberto della Marmora was walking along the River Var, in France, when he heard a song he thought he recognized. One well-aimed shotgun blast later, and he knew for sure. He... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, vocalization

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