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Past Shows

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Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrikes are found across much of the United States in open country, like pasture and sagebrush. Male shrikes are well known for impaling their prey on thorns, creating a larder that may help impress potential mates. But pesticides and the loss of habitat to residential and commercial... read more »

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Tallgrass Prairie

Tallgrass prairie, a sea of grass, once stretched from Manitoba to Texas, a landscape of almost unimaginable natural abundance. Heading west, Lewis and Clark came upon savannahs as far as the eye could see, covered with herds of bison, elk, pronghorn, and deer. Only a tiny fraction of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Begging Sounds and Postures

After young birds have left the nest and can fly short distances, they still follow their parents and beg for food. They squawk and assume a begging posture, wings drooping and head hunched down. Most young birds, including this European Starling, depend on their parents for days, weeks, or even... read more »

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How Do Birds Brake from Flight?

Birds are often admired for their ability to fly. But braking just in time to avoid a crash landing is amazing by itself. How does a robin go from full-out flight to a dead stop at a tree? If we could watch in slow motion, we’d see it raising the angle of its wings higher and higher from the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight

Summer Tanagers: Wasp Hunters

Summer Tanagers snatch bees and wasps in mid-air, as they buzz about. Bug in beak, the bird flies to a perch, slams the insect against a branch until it’s dead, then wipes it against the branch to remove the stinger before eating it. Summer Tanagers will also tear open paper-like wasp nests to... read more »

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California Quail, Up and Running

The most distinctive characteristic of the California Quail is the black, forward-facing topknot that juts out from its forehead like a small flag. The California Quail – the state bird of California – builds its nest right on the ground. Almost immediately after hatching, the precocial chicks... read more »

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Birds Move from Fresh to Salt Water

To hear a Common Loon in the wild during summer, you’ll need to find a northern, freshwater lake where a pair is nesting. But to find that same Common Loon in winter, you’ll likely need to look on a saltwater bay. This shift from fresh to salt water would kill most animals. But loons — along with... read more »

Tony Angell Watches a Peregrine Falcon Fledge

Tony Angell writes: "I was standing opposite a peregrine falcon's cliffside nest ... the female falcon, carrying prey, flew into a stand of madronas overhead. It was early ... and the hungry youngster had yet to be fed. Seeing the meal she had, the nestling responded with wing flapping and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Cuckoos - Tent Caterpillar Birds

One of two species of cuckoos in North America, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, pictured here, lives in broadleaf forests throughout the East and riparian stands in the Southwest. They were common breeding birds in the Pacific Northwest as late as the 1920s, but then they disappeared. The Black-billed... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology

Songs and Calls - They're Not the Same

To our ear, the haunting song of this Hermit Thrush is musical, even ethereal. To another Hermit Thrush, the song signals that a male is laying claim to a territory and seeking a mate. These thrushes, like other songbirds, broadcast a variety of calls. Call notes can signal many things – alarm at... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

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