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vocalization

Common Nighthawk, Uncommon Sound

Swooping and diving through the air on its long slender wings, the Common Nighthawk emerges at dusk to chase down aerial insects. Nighthawks have short bills that open wide, so they can vacuum up their insect prey as they fly along. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  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

Bobolinks

Washington Irving called the Bobolink "the happiest bird of our spring...he rises and sinks with the breeze, pours forth a succession of rich tinkling notes ..." Bobolinks nest in hayfields and grasslands, returning north each spring, all the way from southern South America. Listen to more songs... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

Mistaken Identity

This Band-tailed Pigeon may sound like an owl, but it's a case of mistaken identity. The song of the American Robin could be confused with that of the Black-headed Grosbeak. And then, there's the Black-capped Chickadee. At certain times of year, the male sings "Fee-bee, fee-bee," even though it's... read more »

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Matching Birds with Their Habitats

Close your eyes and let’s take a little trip today, from one landscape to another, discovering new birds calling in the wild. Particular birds are tied to their particular habitats. As these natural places go, so go the birds. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Birds Talk, People Squawk

Darvin Gebhart is a champion goose-caller. But there are also birds that use human language. Sparkie Williams was a famous parakeet, or budgerigar, that lived in England in the 1950s. He recorded commercials for bird seed and released his own hit single "Pretty Talk." Alex, the African Grey... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, vocalization

Sounds of the Boreal Forest

The boreal forest is a vast band of spruce and poplar, extending from coast to coast across Alaska and Canada. Called North America's "songbird bread-basket," for a brief time, it teems with song. Birdsongs heard on this show include a Common Loon (like this one), Swainson's Thrush, White... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, vocalization

Chickadee Codes

Black-capped Chickadees sometimes add extra dees to their calls. Christopher Templeton has cracked the chickadee code. He found that a relatively small threat, maybe a slow-to-maneuver Great Horned Owl, warranted only two dee notes. But a greater threat, an agile Northern Pygmy-Owl, elicited an... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science, vocalization

Barred Owl Revives

The emphatic hoots of Barred Owls resonate in the still of a winter's night. These owls initiate their vocal courtship in winter. Their signature hooting sequence has been memorably described as "who-cooks-for-you?! who-cooks-for-you-all?!" Watch for them at dawn or dusk, as they fly low to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  rehabilitation, vocalization

Black-capped Chickadee

If you hang a simple feeder outside your window, you might attract this Black-capped Chickadee and many other birds. Fill the feeder and install it close to any room where you spend time. Hang the feeder within three feet of the window to keep the birds from colliding with the glass. That way, if... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, vocalization

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