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Purple Martin (Progne subis)

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Birders and their Special Places

Some birders specialize in a particular species. Others are drawn to a special place. Michael Hobbs took note when a Lazuli Bunting (like this one) turned up at Marymoor Park, an unusual sighting for Western Washington. Connie Sidles knows when to expect the American Pipit at the Union Bay... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Early Spring Songs (South Texas)

In March, we welcome the lengthening days and the renewal of bird song. Among the earliest spring singers in south Texas are White-throated Sparrow, Cassin's Sparrow, and Purple Martin (left). And spring songs are breaking out all over the country. Listen to the songs of these early spring... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Geolocators Track Migrating Songbirds

With many migratory songbirds in North America declining at an alarming rate, it’s important to map their travels – and learn what they require for food and shelter.Until recently, it was difficult to monitor the precise journey of migratory birds. Thanks to the development of geolocators like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

The Birds of Lake Wobegon

It’s late August, and BirdNote is imagining the bird life at Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Wobegon. The loons are now quiet. And the Purple Martins that nested outside the Chatterbox Café? They’re headed for South America. Even the Orchard Orioles - like the pair seen here (female L, male R) -... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, language

Geolocators Reveal Secrets of Landbird Migration

Geolocators are revealing fascinating information about the lives of migratory birds. These devices are so light that they can be mounted on the backs of even small birds like the Wood Thrush pictured here with its nestlings. Thanks to geolocators, we know that many Wood Thrushes return to the U.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, ornithology, science

Purple Martins Head South to the Amazon

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow that nests in the U.S. and Canada. It’s also one of our most beloved birds, judging by how many people put up nest boxes for them! During fall, Purple Martins from western North America migrate to a distinct wintering area in southeastern Brazil — a travel... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, science

Helping Purple Martins

It won’t be long before North America’s largest swallows, Purple Martins, will be looking for places to nest. They’ll be arriving from as far away as Venezuela and Brazil. In eastern North America, where most martins breed, they nest almost exclusively in human-made houses - like the one pictured... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

How Birds Stay Cool

On a hot summer’s day, watch a bird such as a crow — or this Purple Martin — very carefully. You’ll never see them sweat, because birds don’t have sweat glands. So how do they keep cool? One way is panting. As the bird breathes rapidly, heat is carried out of its body through the lungs and air... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Purple Martins Change Their Habits

While Purple Martins west of the Rockies will happily nest in an old woodpecker hole, Purple Martins east of the Rockies rarely nest in natural cavities. Instead, they nest in birdhouses provided by humans. They depend on people to a huge extent and thrive close by their homes. People, in turn,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, nesting
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