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Past Shows

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Black-crowned Night-Heron

Black-crowned Night-Herons feed primarily on fish, but they will consume everything from earthworms to clams to eggs of nesting birds and refuse at landfills! Because they are high on the food chain, found throughout much of the world, and nest in colonies, Black-crowned Night-Herons can tell us... read more »


Rewards of Birding - With Harry Fuller

Why is birdwatching so rewarding? Bird guide, Harry Fuller, says it's about three things: It's free. You can do it wherever you are. And it's fun! Once you start watching, you really appreciate the beauty, the complexity, and the wonder of what's going on in the world around you. Like these... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birding

Some of My Best Friends Are Salt Marshes

Riding the train west to New Haven or New York, you pass salt marshes with old and evocative names like The Saw Pit, Great Harbor, and Old Quarry. Watch for marsh birds — yellowlegs, sandpipers, Snowy Egrets. In the fall, you may find Northern Pintails, teal, and Black Ducks, like this one. We... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

What the Pacific Wren Hears

What does the Pacific Wren hear in a song? It's a long story. What we hear as a blur of sound, the bird hears as a precise sequence of sounds, the visual equivalent of seeing a movie as a series of still pictures. That birds can hear the fine structure of song so acutely allows them to convey... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Cattle Egret - You've Got a Friend in Me

Many birds that forage in open country, such as Cattle Egrets, benefit from association with large grazing mammals. The mammals scare up insects as they move, making them more visible to the birds. In the egrets’ native lands in Africa, the birds feed with elephants, rhinos, and Cape buffalos. In... read more »


Purple Martins Head South to the Amazon

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow that nests in the U.S. 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 »

Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Swainson's Birds

William John Swainson, ornithologist, author, illustrator, was born in October 1789. He settled in New Zealand, and it's quite likely that he never saw any of the birds named for him. But because of Swainson's reputation and knowledge about birds, the Swainson's Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, and... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history, ornithology

How Shorebirds Find Their Way

Shorebirds such as these Pacific Golden-Plovers have a built-in map and a built-in compass. Many night-flying migrants use star patterns to orient themselves, and the fact that the sun always sets in the west makes it a compass point for a bird about to take off on a night flight. Perhaps the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Darwin's Birds

The finches of the Galapagos Islands are famous in the history of evolutionary theory. But Charles Darwin spent four years studying other birds as well, as the Beagle circumnavigated southern South America before reaching the Galapagos in 1835. It was not just the birds, but a lifetime of... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

A Murder, a Party, a Stare, or a Siege

Collective nouns are a mixture of poetry, alliteration, and description. Victorians often made up names for groups of birds, as a parlor game. Many names bring a vision of the birds instantly to mind. How about this stare of owls? They're Burrowing Owls!So what would a bunch of birders be called?... read more »

Topics & Themes:  language