Past Shows

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Pirates and Parrots

Ahoy, Mates! September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. No doubt the most famous image of a pirate with a parrot is Long John Silver in Treasure Island. During the 1700s, pirates plied the waters of South and Central America, home to many species of parrots, including this Blue and Yellow Macaw.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Snail Kite - Bird of the Everglades

When Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature declared the Everglades, America's largest wetland, totally worthless. In 1905, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was elected governor on a campaign to drain them. So over the years, the slowly flowing "River of Grass" has been replaced by a series of... read more »

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Nighttime Flights of Songbirds

Some cloudless night in September, when the air is clear, you may see birds flying across the yellow face of the moon! September is peak migration time for millions of songbirds heading south from North America to more tropical latitudes. Nocturnal migrants of the same species, such as orioles,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, ornithology, sound

Ravens and Crows - Who Is Who

Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped. Another clue... read more »

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The Pungent Mudflat

On the shore of a saltwater bay, the tide goes out, revealing a broad expanse of dark, glistening mudflat. Mudflats are rich in nutrients, such as decomposing organic matter and minerals. Far from wastelands, mudflats also support a bounty of life including vast quantities of tiny snails and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Golden Eagles of Ireland

Golden Eagles were once revered as a symbol of wisdom and power by the ancient druids in Ireland. But the Golden Eagle’s voice was not heard in Ireland for most of the Twentieth Century. In the spring of 2007, a Golden Eagle pair hatched a chick for the first time since 1912, in Glenveagh... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

The Greatest Bird Rescue Ever

On June 23, 2000, the "MV Treasure" iron ore tanker sank off the coast of South Africa, covering 19,000 adult African Penguins in oil. Fortunately, thousands of volunteers arrived to help. The oily birds were moved to Cape Town to be cleaned. Another 19,500 penguins that escaped... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  rehabilitation

Northern Gannets Plunge-Dive

Just off the North Atlantic coast, hungry Northern Gannets are gathering to feed on fish. From 100 feet in the air, the gannets plummet head-first into the water at 60 miles per hour! Such high-speed collisions would knock most creatures out. But Gannets have evolved air sacs in both the neck and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology

Swifts Roost in Chimneys

What could bring crowds of people out after sunset on a September evening to stare at  . . . a chimney? Swifts, of course! Scores of swifts form a funnel-shaped cloud above the right kind of chimney, then they begin their descent. First one, then a few more, then dozens, then hundreds swirl... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, ecology, migration

Counting a Million Raptors Over Veracruz

A “river of raptors” flows through Veracruz State in eastern Mexico during the month of September. In Living on the Wind, Scott Weidensaul describes his experience counting the birds: “Nothing in a lifetime of birdwatching had prepared me for this spectacle,” he says. “As our sense of numbed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration