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Past Shows

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Song Sparrows Learn to Sing

Young male Song Sparrows learn about 10 songs from adult tutors - sometimes from their fathers, but not always. And they learn in stages: 1) "subsong," when the birds babble in a quiet and unstructured way; 2) the "plastic" stage, which contains recognizable adult syllables but is still wobbly,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science, vocalization

One Square Inch of Silence

Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, seeks those rare places untouched by human noise, where birds and nature create a complex, quiet music. In the Hoh Valley, in a rain forest in Olympic National Park, is a place he calls One Square Inch of Silence. It’s the least noise-polluted place in all of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, recording

Texas Hill Country Conservation

Paul Davis owns 1,500 acres in the Hill Country of Texas that he manages, not for cattle, but as habitat for warblers and vireos. He’s preserving stands of native juniper. He says: “We have two birds down there that are very, very localized. The Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo.... read more »

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The Crow and the Gull

Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. Can you guess who won?The gull seen here... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, listener story

Baby Bald Eagles

A recently fledged Bald Eagle, a juvenile just learning to fly, lands unceremoniously on the ground. The parent Bald Eagles may react by calling from a tree, or they may have to descend to the ground themselves, to tend to and encourage the young bird to take flight again. Young Bald Eagles do... read more »

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Shorebirds Watch Their Feet

Greater Yellowlegs — not surprisingly — have bright yellow legs and feet. And why? While foraging through shallow water, a yellowlegs (like this one) can keep track of its legs by the color, which contrasts with the sometimes dark and irregular bottom. A Sanderling, on the other hand, has black... read more »

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Singing Like a Bird and Feeling Good

Every now and then, don’t you just want to belt it out? Imagine singing like a Black-headed Grosbeak! Or what about a Carolina Wren? Picture warbling like a House Finch. All this just too rambunctious for you? The call of the American Bittern more your style? Or this Yellow-headed Blackbird?... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, sound

Honeybees and Red-tails

BirdNote writer, Todd Peterson, is also a beekeeper. His spring and summer labors in the apiary have long been accompanied by the cry of Red-tailed Hawks that nest in the woods nearby. If it survives its first two years, a Red-tailed Hawk can live from 10 to 15 years. Red-tails and other birds... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

White Ibis's Tricky Nesting Schedule

For many birds, breeding and nesting are tied closely to spring. But for a bird like the White Ibis — one of the most abundant wading birds in the Southeast — the timing of nesting has to do with water. White Ibises forage in shallow pools of fresh water, especially for crayfish and small crabs.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Sapsuckers and Sap

Sapsuckers, a specialized group of woodpeckers, don’t actually suck sap. After pecking neat rows of small holes in trees to cause the sugary liquid to flow, the birds lick it up with tongues tipped with stiff hairs. So why doesn’t a sapsucker’s beak get stuck shut? Part of the answer may lie in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science
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