Natural History

Life Episodes: Birds

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Birds have one feature that no other animal possesses: feathers. This allows them to solve life's challenges in radically different ways.

The male spatule-tail hummingbird performs extraordinary aerial displays, using fast-beating wings and super-long iridescent tail feathers. The red-billed tropic bird uses its incredible agility to outmaneuver attacking frigate birds in a high-speed aerial "dogfight."

Red knots migrate 10,000 miles every spring from wintering grounds in Argentina to nesting sites in Canada; and Antarctica's chinstrap penguins make an exhausting climb up the steep flanks of a glacier-covered volcano to get food to their chicks.

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