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Past Shows

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Wing-clapping

For most birds, wings are for flying. But for Rock Pigeons, they’re also for clapping. When the pigeons erupt into flight, some may slap their wings together above their bodies in a “wing clap.” A male Rock Pigeon will also do this when courting. Short-eared Owls have evolved wing-clapping, too.... read more »

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Reddish Egret - Lagoon Dancer

The Reddish Egret, a particularly glamorous heron, is best known for its startling antics in capturing fish. When fishing, the egret sprints across the lagoon, weaving left and right, simultaneously flicking its broad wings in and out, while stabbing into the water with its bill. Fish startled at... read more »

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Sounds of the Amazon

It's winter and time for a vacation. Let's head to the Amazon! With names like the Screaming Piha, the Blue-crowned Motmot, and the Black-necked Red-Cotinga, these are not your average birds. Insects are the background chorus for the Cuvier's Toucan and the Musician Wren. If you want to get away... read more »

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Blackbird, by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney and the rest of the Beatles most certainly grew up hearing Eurasian Blackbirds. Their song is beautiful, so it's no wonder the Beatles chose to weave it into one of their songs. But McCartney wasn't singing about the bird. He was singing about the racial strife in the American... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, music

A Swirl of Snow Geese

Snow Geese nest from far northeastern Russia to Greenland, in the arctic and subarctic. They winter in large flocks on the deltas of rivers in northwestern Washington, areas along the Eastern Seaboard, and throughout the Mississippi Flyway. Watching Snow Geese in flight, Barry Lopez described... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Birds That Whistle

Many bird songs are rich and complex, difficult to remember, and nearly impossible to imitate. Some species' songs, however, sound as if they could have been whistled by a human. These simpler, pure-noted songs are some of the most familiar and easy to remember. These songs -- including the "pee... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, 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

Rhinoceros Hornbill

Rhinoceros Hornbills are among the largest of the world’s 54 species of hornbills, which are spread across Africa and India to Asia and New Guinea. Some hornbills eat mostly fruit. Others are carnivorous, snapping up lizards, small mammals, and birds. Most live in mature, tropical forests, but... read more »

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Kittiwake, Kittiwake

Named for its rhythmic calls, the Black-legged Kittiwake as it is known in North America - it's also known as the Common Kittiwake - is a dapper, oceanic gull. As described by Roger Tory Peterson, the tips of its pale gray wings "are cut straight across, as if they had been dipped in ink." Unlike... read more »

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Hooded Merganser

Hooded Mergansers, affectionately known as “Hoodies,” nest across most of the northern US and well into Canada. They’re especially prevalent around the Great Lakes, though some winter as far south as Florida. By November, courtship and pair formation is well under way. And by early spring,... read more »

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