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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

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

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

Encounter with a Cassowary

In a tropical woodland in eastern Australia, you glimpse a Southern Cassowary, a huge flightless bird that must rate as the most prehistoric looking of all birds. Cassowaries are capable of making remarkable sounds, including the lowest known bird call in the world, barely audible to the human... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

John Burroughs II

John Burroughs, one of the masters of American nature writing, wrote "The birds do indeed begin with the day. The farmer who is in the field at work while he can yet see stars catches their first matin hymns. In the longest June days the robin strikes up about half past three o'clock..."... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Poorwills at Night

Close kin to the Whip-poor-will, the nocturnal Poorwill can be heard in summer in canyons at the deep end of dusk. And the Common Poorwill's greatest claim to fame? It was the first bird confirmed to hibernate, based on evidence verified in 1946. Since then, we have learned that Lewis and Clark,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, vocalization

Common Murres - Nature's Laugh Track

The raucous laughter of the Common Murre rings out from a nesting colony, high on a narrow ledge on a sea cliff. Precarious as their nest site is, Common Murres nest by the thousands along the Pacific Coast, perhaps millions north along the Bering Sea. Their eggs are pointed at one end and blunt... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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