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Past Shows

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The Female Oriole Weaves a Nest

Not only are most orioles eye-catching, but they also rank among the world's most accomplished nest-builders. Female orioles — like the Baltimore Oriole seen here — weave nests that hang like pendants. You can spot these hanging nests most easily when the trees have lost their leaves. The female... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Birds' Early Warning Systems

A frantic cacophony of loud, rapid birdcalls tells other birds there’s a predator on the prowl. It’s called “mobbing” as birds clamor and dart — back and forth — at the threat. An ongoing study of mobbing and other bird warning behavior suggests that some birds listen in on the warnings of other... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Wimbledon Raptors - And Pigeons

Wimbledon is legendary: the verdant green of the courts, the throngs of fans in sun hats, sightings of royalty ... and lots of pigeons. Since the tennis tournament at the All England Club began in 1877, pigeons nested in the stands and generally made a mess of things. Today, though, very few... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Olive-Sided Flycatcher - Preserving a Unique Voice

These days we're hearing the song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher less often. Clear-cutting and fire suppression in forests, along with acid rain, has reduced its available habitat. Pesticides affect the supply of food. American Bird Conservancy has named it a priority species for conservation.... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

The Auklet's Whiskers - Not Just for Show

In Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, thousands of Whiskered Auklets — miniature relatives of puffins and murres — nest in deep rock crevices. The birds owe their name to the white plumes that sprout from their heads each summer. These fancy “whiskers” likely play a role in courtship. But they're not... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Frank Chapman and the Solitaire

Frank M. Chapman, born in June, 1864, was the father of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. He became Curator of Birds at the American Museum of Natural History. The author of many books, Chapman carried on an active program of field research in Central and South America. And his choice for the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, ornithology, vocalization

Kipukas and Akis

One of Hawaii’s rarest forest birds is this ‘Akiapola’au. Some of the roughly 1,000 Akis left on earth live and breed in kipukas on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii’s largest active volcano. A kipuka is an island of native forest surrounded not by water but by recent lava flows - a green... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

The Arctic Plain in June

In early June, millions of birds arrive on the Arctic Coastal Plain in Alaska, from all over the world. They're there to attract a mate and raise their young. One shorebird, the Pectoral Sandpiper, has a pectoral sac on its chest. It stands on the ground and inflates this sac, and then takes off... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Crow Parents, Fearless Defenders

Although the American Crow may seem blasé about pillaging another bird's nest, it regards a threat to its own young as a punishable offense. To protect their nest, adult crows dive-bomb people, cats, and other animals, and even other birds (including this kite -- click View Large). Young crows... read more »

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Thick-billed Euphonia - Deceitful Mimic

Northern Mockingbirds can learn to mimic the sounds of just about any bird. They mimic to show off, not to deceive. But this Thick-billed Euphonia, a tiny songbird in South America, employs what scientists call “deceitful mimicry.” When frightened by a predator near its nest, a Thick-billed... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology, ornithology
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