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Field Notes

Red-winged Blackbirds on the Attack

What's up with this Red-winged Blackbird? He's mad as can be, and you'd better watch out, no matter what species you are! Tom Gray spotted this handsome male in Shoreline Park, in Mountain View, California.Tales abound of these birds "hitching rides" on the backs of larger birds. And what's the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

Tweets 'n' Squawks: Learn How to Identify Birds by Song

Nothing signals spring quite like singing birds. As the length of days increase, male birds begin to sing to protect their territories from neighboring males and advertise their presence to nearby females. In spring, those males are vibrantly colored and may be easy to see, because they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound, vocalization

BirdNote Moments for May 2014

Listen to the full show, Red Knot Flies to the Moon and Back.Red Knot © Patricia M. González  Listen to the full BirdNote show, A Sailor Finds Companionship in Birds, With Brechin Morgan.Swallow-tailed Gull painting © Brechin Morgan Listen to the full BirdNote show, Snow Melting into... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, recording, reflection

Helping Birds Avoid Colliding with Glass

Birds colliding with glass is a real problem, especially during migration. Many cities have initiated Lights Out! programs, which helps. And there are things that homeowners can do, too. BirdNote's Chris Peterson interviewed Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy about the problem... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight, human interaction

Wood Ducks on the Potomac

Wild, undammed rivers make dangerous neighbors. A sign-board near the riverbank at one of the entrances to Potomac National Park offers direct evidence of the river’s perils — 57 drownings in ten years between Great Falls and Little Falls — about an 11-mile stretch.The Potomac seems most fearsome... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Capturing a Special Moment: Mating American Avocets

The American Avocet is a beautiful shorebird that's found in ephemeral wetlands of the United States, mainly west of the Mississippi, south through Central America. (Ephemeral wetlands are seasonal ponds that are wet only seasonally or only in wet years.)The elegantly curved bill — inspiration... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  photography

President Theodore Roosevelt's Bird Checklist for the White House

“Bird-Lore: A Bi-Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Study and Protection of Birds”Official Organ of the Audubon Societies(Vol. X11 No. 2 March – April, 1910)From the author, Lucy W. Maynard of Washington, DC: … I had the opportunity to speak with the President, and I asked him if I might make, from... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Do Birds Play?

Black Swans, surfing off the Gold Coast of Australia? What's that about?Do birds play? We think so. And these videos seem to prove it! Here's what BirdNote science advisor, Dennis Paulson, has to say:For a long time, scientists resisted the idea that animals other than humans played. But more and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Bushtits Build Their Nest

Mike Hamilton photographed a pair of Bushtits building their sock-like, hanging nest. Both the male and the female work in building the pendulous nest, made from moss, lichen, and spider webs. The female (she's the one with yellow eyes) focuses more on the bowl, while the male builds out the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting, ornithology

Redhead Alert - A Walk along the Potomac Shore

Redheads stand out among us in the crowd. From historical figures like Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I, to screen stars like Lucille Ball and Damian Lewis, a red head — with or without a crown on it — can cause a stir.The same phenomenon obtains when it comes to birder sightings. Bright red head... read more »

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