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Past Shows

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Waterfalls, Caves, and White-collared Swifts

A flight of White-collared Swifts, huge swifts the size of small falcons, wing their way toward a small waterfall in Southern Mexico. Flying up to 100 miles per hour, they slice right through the waterfall into the cave beyond. White-collared Swifts are found from Mexico to Brazil. By day, they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, nesting

What to Talk About When You Talk About Birds

If you’re a biologist and you want to save habitat for birds such as this Savannah Sparrow, how do you do it? You talk to people, says Ros Renfrew of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. And you listen. Ros meets with landowners in Vermont, New Hampshire, and across New England. “We might not even... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

The Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his farm in the 1940s. In his Sand County Almanac, a classic of conservation and nature writing, Leopold brought to life scenes of nature, a month at a time. Field Sparrows aren't as common today as they were in Aldo Leopold's day... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Murres' Swimming Migration - With Bob Boekelheide

When we think of avian migration, we generally think of birds in flight. But Common Murres migrate north by swimming. Some Pacific Coast murres paddle north to the sheltered bays of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to feed on herring and other small fish. During their ocean migration, the adult male... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Birds in Summer - The Heat of the Day

Just a few weeks past the solstice, and the real heat of summer is yet to come. Some shorebirds are already on their way south, but most songbirds will be here for a while longer. What's the best time of day to look for them? Many birds are most active in the early morning, taking advantage of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Are Birds Nests Reused?

Let’s talk about nests. Every spring, robins build their cup-shaped nests using grass and mud. Orioles weave a hanging sack. It’s hard work, and yet once the chicks fledge, the structures probably won’t be reused. But bigger birds, such as herons, hawks, and eagles, often reuse a nest for many... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Towhees' Distractive Plumage

Both this Eastern Towhee and the Spotted Towhee of the West sport a black or dark brown hood and back. And when they fly, their tails flash white. When a hawk gives chase, the towhee's flashing tail-feathers draw the predator's attention. Momentarily distracted, the hawk may come up with just a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Peatlands - Maine's Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge

The habitats that comprise Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge in central Maine — including peat bogs, streamside meadows, shrub thickets, cedar swamps, and maple forests — are rich with bird life, like this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. You’ll also find Bobolinks and more than 20 kinds of warblers during the... read more »

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Most Kingfishers Don't Fish

In North America, kingfishers fish. But in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia, most of the roughly 90 species of kingfishers don’t “fish.” They hunt in woodlands, where the smaller ones, like the four-inch Pygmy Kingfisher, eat grasshoppers and centipedes. Larger kingfishers will... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

Finding Your Way Home

In her book Out of the Woods, Lynn Darling describes an account of way-finding through the thick fog of coastal Greenland. An Inuit hunting party was kayaking close enough to shore to hear breaking waves, but the land was lost in mist. Darling writes: “After hours of steady paddling, the leader... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  human interaction
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