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vocalization

Wood-Wrens - A Tropical Duet

Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens sing a duet. Each sings a different phrase, yet the phrases are so closely linked, it sounds like one song. Such singing is called antiphonal song. The pairs use song to stake out and hold breeding territories. Dueting is most typical of birds that live in dense habitats;... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

The Lowly Starling

Much maligned as a pest and cursed by many as an "invasive species," the European Starling has had many fans, too. Eugene Schieffelin introduced about 50 pairs into the United States in the 1890s. And Rachel Carson noted that the starling carries "more than 100 loads of destructive insects per... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

Great Horned Owl Duet

The 22-inch Great Horned Owl has two tufts of feathers that stick up from the top of its head. This owl is difficult to see, but it's often heard during dark winter evenings and pre-dawn mornings. A pair of owls may call back and forth or overlap their hoots. The male's call is slightly lower in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Dawn Song, Spring Equinox

As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of observing birds is to hear the dawn song in spring. Early in the morning, warblers,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Douglas Squirrel

The Douglas squirrel is a pint-sized, chestnut-red native resident of forests west of the Cascade rim. They waste no time in telling you - and other squirrels - you're in their territory, particularly if you're near their central larder of conifer cones. They're named for Scottish explorer and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Who Was Douglas?

Both Douglas squirrels and the firs they call home bear the name of David Douglas. In 1825 and 1826, the Scotsman Douglas tramped and canoed over 6000 miles of the Pacific Northwest, documenting plants and collecting seeds and cuttings. In 1827, Douglas traveled to the Royal Horticultural Society... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, vocalization

Where Are They Now?

Where have the birds of summer gone? The Swainson's Thrush is wintering in Central or South America, maybe as far south as Bolivia. Warbling Vireos are now spread through much of Central America, while Black-headed Grosbeaks have migrated to Mexico. This Orange-crowned Warbler also makes Mexico... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Raven's Love Song

Ravens are seen as tricksters in many traditions. But Common Ravens have a softer side. During courtship, a pair will often sit side by side, sometimes preening each other's feathers. And during that ritual, one or both may make soft warbling sounds. Raven nestlings sometimes make this same sound... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

Dawn Song - Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock..." As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Spring Rain Refreshes a Desert

Springtime in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern California. Cacti and wildflowers glisten with raindrops, and birds begin to sing. A House Finch, a Bewick's Wren, a Cactus Wren, a Mourning Dove, and this Costa's Hummingbird all add their sounds.The soundscapes featured in today's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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