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Past Shows

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City Ravens

Once common on the Atlantic Coast, Common Ravens became rare, as human activity grew more obtrusive through the 1900s. But something changed around the dawn of the 21st century. The ravens came back. Ravens now patrol parking lots in New Jersey to seize the choicest trash, dodge speeding cars on... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Great Horned Owl III

This Great Horned Owlet - about 2-1/2 months old and already as big as its parents - is quite well feathered, although its underparts remain downy. Its wing and tail feathers are developing nicely, and it has begun to make short flights. By mid-May, the owlet still relies almost entirely on its... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Ponderosa Pine Savanna

In a Western ponderosa pine savanna, tall pines dot an open, grassy landscape. A Western Bluebird flits from a gnarly branch, as this Cassin's Finch belts out a rapid song. The trees here grow singly or in small stands. Upslope, the pines become denser, mixing with firs. Downhill, the trees give... read more »

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Mark Twain and Tropicbirds

When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866, he was able to inspect a live volcano, Halema’uma’u, which he described as “a crimson cauldron.” Twain concluded his impressions of the hellish scene by writing, “The smell of sulfur is strong, but not unpleasant to a sinner.” That eruption came to an end... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Swainson's Warbler

On a fine May morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a song issues from within a rhododendron thicket. It's a Swainson's Warbler — one of North America's shyest birds. These birds forage quietly on the ground, flipping over leaves to expose and capture insects. They scurry away, calling... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Ruddy Duck

When male and female Ruddy Ducks meet on their breeding grounds, the male gets right to strutting his stuff. The male raises his tail and his head, until his feathers look like horns. He inflates his neck and, faster and faster, strikes his chest with his bill. These blows cause the water to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

Bushtits

Weighing about as much as four paperclips, Bushtits are smaller than many hummingbirds. And they take full advantage of their diminutive size. While larger insect-eaters forage on the upper surfaces of leaves, Bushtits hang beneath them, plucking all the tiny insects and spiders hiding out of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Pied-Billed Grebe Nest Construction

The call of the Pied-billed Grebe is unusual. Their nests are unusual too – little platforms of plant material that float on water, hidden behind vegetation. Martin Muller, an expert who loves unraveling the mysteries of Pied-billed Grebes, explains how grebe parents like this one build their nests. read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

A Young Bewick's Wren Learns to Sing

Donald Kroodsma, avian communication expert, offers great research on the songs of the Bewick's Wren. At this time of year, a very young male Bewick's Wren is beginning to learn how to sing. His father sings a crisp well-defined song, separated by pauses, but the young bird's song is fuzzy,... read more »

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Great Bustard

A Great Bustard shows off to a group of females by inflating special neck sacs – producing what sounds like a massive sneeze followed by a Bronx cheer. He flips his wings almost upside down to reveal bright white undersides, while fanning his tail and long, white throat whiskers. Three feet tall... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display
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