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Birds and People
Episode 23 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Contemplate the deep and long-term interactions between birds and humans. Beginning in ancient times, explore the roles birds have played in diverse civilizations, and how birds have benefited people in ways ranging from hunting to pest control. In today's world,…
Birding Ethics and Conservation
Episode 24 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Consider guidelines for ethical birding, based in respect for fellow birders and non-birders alike. Conclude with a far-reaching look at matters affecting bird welfare, at both the individual and species level. Review current environmental factors that endanger birds, and actions…
Photography for Birders
Episode 20 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Lay a foundation for fine bird photography, starting with the basics of aperture, shutter speed, ISO (light sensitivity), and focus. Investigate the use of natural light at different times of the day, and the best equipment for photographing birds. Learn…
Birding Sites in Eastern North America
Episode 21 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Learn about eleven of the best birding destinations in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. Among them, pay visits to Maine's Monnegan Island, a stopping place for a huge variety of migrants; Cape May, New Jersey, a locus of great birding…
Birding Sites in Western North America
Episode 22 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Among twelve top Western birding sites, visit the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, nesting site of forty million seabirds; California's Point Reyes National Seashore, which hosts a massive 490 species; the Grand Canyon, a Globally Important Bird Area; and a…
Passerines: From Flycatchers to Thrushes
Episode 17 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Begin to uncover the huge spectrum of Passerines (perching or songbirds). Start with the flycatchers, aerialists adept at catching insects in midair, and the shrikes, rare songbirds with a raptor lifestyle. Within this far-ranging lecture, encounter bird families such as…
Passerines: From Thrashers to Warblers
Episode 18 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Continue with the astonishing variety of North American songbirds. Learn about birds that mimic, the mockingbirds and catbird, and the thrashers, with their namesake feeding behavior. Track the striking bulbuls, the starlings, pipits, wagtails, waxwings, longspurs, and snow buntings, and…
Passerines: From Tanagers to Finches
Episode 19 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Today, complete your review of the Passerines (songbirds). Beginning with the seed-eating towhees, explore the many varieties of New World sparrows, the juncos, and Old World buntings. Then study the tanagers, cardinals, dickcissels, grosbeaks, and vivid New World buntings, before…
Diurnal Raptors
Episode 15 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Now travel into the world of these iconic and alluring birds of prey, and their distinguishing features, ranges, and behaviors. Learn about New World vultures, including the magnificent California condor. Also encounter the osprey, kites, eagles, hawks, falcons, kestrels, and…
From Doves to Kingfishers
Episode 16 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Here, study several diverse groups of birds, ranging from the familiar to the exotic. Explore the surprising variety of pigeons and doves, and trace the sad demise of the passenger pigeon. Note the presence of "introduced" parrots in the U.S.,…
Birding at Night
Episode 12 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Some additional birding skills are needed for night viewing of birds. Learn about equipment for night birding, ways of locating nocturnal birds, and approaches to viewing migrating birds at night. Then investigate the fascinating range of night birds, encompassing the…
Pelagic Birding
Episode 13 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Open sea birding adds another exciting dimension to birdwatching. Begin with an introduction to sea trips for birding, covering types of excursions and vessels, equipment, and important logistical and safety information. Preview the remarkable birds you'll see, from the mysterious…
Waterbirds, Shorebirds, and Game Birds
Episode 14 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
In the first of six lectures on the bird families of North America, study four groups of birds that most people will find close to home. Begin with waterfowl, birds that swim in fresh water or near the ocean shore.…
Birding by Ear
Episode 10 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Study the physics and biology of avian sounds, which underlie the rich range of birdsong heard in the field. Discover how birds learn to vocalize, and how bird songs and calls are used for a remarkable spectrum of communication. Look…
Essentials of Bird Migration
Episode 11 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Migration seasons provide excellent opportunities to sight unfamiliar bird species. Here, uncover the evolutionary origins of migration, and why birds migrate. Study the triggers and geographical patterns of migration, and the four principal "flyways" (migration zones) of North America. Learn…
Using Bird Behavior to Identify Birds
Episode 8 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Look into six categories of bird behavior, as they provide vital information for identification. See how individual species are distinguished by typical or unique behavioral traits. Study the distinctive feeding habits of many species, and how we can recognize species…
Understanding Variations in Plumage
Episode 9 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Plumage variation in a single bird reveals much useful information. First, take account of plumage differences based on sex, and seasonal plumage changes. Then investigate the remarkable range of age-related plumage variation in birds. Learn how birds molt (shed and…
Habitat and Season as Birding Tools
Episode 5 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Explore the North American habitats of forest, grasslands, desert, sagebrush, chaparral, and tundra, distinguishing their specific features and the amazing birds that are native to each of these environments. Add to this knowledge by investigating the roles of habitat specialization,…
Introduction to Birding Optics
Episode 6 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
This lecture discusses the core optical tools that aid us in observing birds in the field. Study the parts of a pair of binoculars, and the pros and cons of different types of binoculars. Learn how to use binoculars for…
Tactics for Better Birding
Episode 7 of The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
Today, review a range of methods for attracting birds, in the field and at home. In both places, consider the use of stealth and concealment techniques, for observing while remaining unobserved. Study the remarkable ability of sounds to attract birds,…