DNTO goes to the birds! (Mar. 26)

Bird image cropped.jpgPhoto by aehack

Birds - are they feathered friends, or feathered foes to you? Everyone's got a story of a close encounter of the winged kind... and this week, we'll look into some of them.

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Danielle Nerman will tell us what happened when dozens and dozens of pigeons decided to make a home of her home... and how her reaction to them surprised even herself.

The elusive ivory-billed woodpecker is a large, beautiful bird that was thought to have gone extinct in North America in the early twentieth century... at least, that was the theory until seven years ago. That's when Tim Gallagher saw what he believed to be an ivory-bill in an Arkansas swamp. That sighting changed Tim's life, and led to a massive and controversial search. He'll tell us why.

A few summers ago, Conor McCreery was biking to a chiropractor's appointment when he had an unforgettable run-in with a strange bird. He'll tell us about the bird encounter/possible brush with reincarnation.

Which bird do you feel a particular affinity for? Or on the flip side, which bird drives you crazy? Sook-Yin takes to the street to find out.

Years ago, Sook-Yin had two pet ducks - Cocoa and Spice. One day, her parents told her they'd set them free in Stanley Park. Turns out... not so much. We'll call up Sook-Yin's dad, Leo Lee, to get the real story.

Wendy Huntbatch has always had a thing about parrots. In fact, her feelings for the colourful and talkative birds have expanded exponentially over the years... and so has her collection. Wendy currently cares for about 800 birds as the founder of the Coombs' World Parrot Refuge.

SY neighbour chickens smaller.JPG"Kim and the Bantams" may sound like the name of a band, but it's not. They're Sook-Yin's neighbours: Kim and her four bantam chickens. So are chickens really as dumb as everyone thinks? Sook-Yin will visit Kim and company to find out.

(Pictured: Kim with her Silkie bantam chicken, Ted.)

When Scott Montgomery was a young man, he came up with a great way to impress his classmates - he'd tell them about his exotic pet birds. If only he actually had exotic pet birds... He'll tell us why the incident ruffled a few feathers.

Now when you think of birds, what kind of description comes to mind? Cute? Creepy? Feathery? Whatever your impression of birds, you probably didn't think of... "great dancers." But Adena Schachner's research might make you re-think that. She's a graduate student at Harvard University. And after studying videos of dancing birds from YouTube... and a fancy-footed parrot named Alex... she thinks that there's more than just cute coincidence to bird dances. (And to see video of parrots in all their dancing glory, check out Adena's website here.)

Sometimes you meet a bird when you least expect it... and it has a lasting impact. Carla Gould explains how a chance encounter with a bird kickstarted her career after she and her pashmina scarf came to its rescue.

For 40 years, Caroll Spinney has started his work day by pulling on yellow, fluffy pants with enormous yellow feet attached. Then a huge yellow top. And finally a yellow head that makes him over eight feet tall. All of it covered in yellow feathers. Yes, Carol Spinney is a big bird. In fact, he's THE Big Bird - one of Sesame Street's most popular residents. He'll share the wisdom four decades as Big Bird has taught him.

Every spring, Rosemary Quipp's family would hatch a batch of chickens (well, more acurately, their chickens would hatch a batch of chicks). And little Rosemary would spend all of her free time playing with the newborn chicks, and then hanging out in the chicken run with them as they got older. For Rosemary's parents, the chickens were a way for her to learn about the circle of life... but for Rosemary the lesson was a little bit different. (Pictured below: young Rosemary learning about "the circle of life.")

Rosemary Quipp dead rooster small.JPG

And here's this week's playlist:

The Be Good Tanyas - "The Littlest Birds"
The Andrews Sisters - "Woodpecker Song"
Andrew Bird - "Anonanimal"
Nelly Furtado - "I'm Like a Bird"
Eels - "I Like Birds"
Allison Brown - "All the Birds"
Malajube - "Synesthesie"
John Bottomley - "Way I Feel"
Patrick Watson - "Big Bird In a Small Cage"

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