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science

How Evolution Works, Featuring Dr. Mike Webster

After breeding in Alaska, some Swainson’s Thrushes migrate across Canada to the East Coast before turning south to Ecuador. Others migrate directly down the Pacific Coast to the same destination. Why are some are traveling twice the distance? Dr. Mike Webster of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, science

Radar Ornithology with Dr. Cliff Mass

Did you know that weather radar can track the migration of birds? Dr. Cliff Mass, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, describes the radar images from a massive migration through the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Shortly after midnight on September 8, huge... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Purple Martins Head South to the Amazon

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow that nests in the US and Canada. It’s also one of our most beloved birds, judging by how many people put up nest boxes for them! During fall, Purple Martins from western North America migrate to a distinct wintering area in southeastern Brazil — a travel... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Citizen Scientists Monitor Pigeon Guillemots

Govinda Rosling, co-coordinator of the Pigeon Guillemot Research Group, is one of 60 volunteer citizen scientists who dedicate their time during the summer months to survey birds at 25 breeding colonies. The guillemots are an indicator species -- their health really echoes the overall health of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

Deep-diving Emperor Penguins - Featuring Jessica Meir

The Emperor Penguin is the largest penguin on the planet. It’s also the deepest and longest underwater diver. Biologist Jessica Meir, pictured here, traveled to Antarctica to study their amazing feats. She learned that Emperor Penguins can hold relatively more oxygen in their bodies than humans... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, science

Fairy-Wrens Sing Secret Passwords to Unborn Chicks

Superb Fairy-wrens teach their embryonic chicks a secret code. This "incubation call" contains a special note that will later serve as a password. When the chicks have hatched, this password enables the adult birds to identify their babies in the darkness of their domed nest. A species of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, science, sound

Listening for Bird Song - Featuring Gordon Hempton

We may be more indebted to birds than we know. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton explains: “I was curious about the human range of sound . . . it’s a perfect match for bird song,” he says. “If we hear bird song, then we’re also listening to an area that has food, water, and an extended favorable... read more »

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Researching High-flying Bar-headed Geese

Twice a year, Bar-headed Geese migrate over the Himalayas, the tallest mountains on the planet. Flying requires ten to twenty times more oxygen than resting. Yet at this altitude, there’s only half to one-third of the oxygen. Animal physiologist Jessica Meir says these amazing birds utilize “a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Geolocators Track Migrating Songbirds

With many migratory songbirds in North America declining at an alarming rate, it’s important to map their travels – and learn what they require for food and shelter.Until recently, it was difficult to monitor the precise journey of migratory birds. Thanks to the development of geolocators like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Shorebirds - Masters of Long-Distance Migration

Dr. Dennis Paulson, BirdNote’s chief science advisor, is an expert on shorebirds. He says new technology is revealing fascinating information about migration routes. (For instance, the alpha-alpha flag, unique to this Whimbrel, tells us the bird was banded in Canada.) For many shorebirds,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

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