BirdNote Daily

By BirdNote

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.


Category: Natural Sciences

Open in Apple Podcasts


Open RSS feed


Open Website


Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 694
Reviews: 5


 Sep 12, 2021


 Jan 30, 2021

Kacy
 Jun 23, 2019
I so look forward to listening to this podcast every day. It's a great way to greet the morning!

Lance
 May 14, 2019

Pavel
 Sep 1, 2018
My apologies for not writing this review sooner. You produce one of my favorite podcasts. Great for birders and general audience as well. Thanks!

Description

Escape the daily grind and immerse yourself in the natural world. Rich in imagery, sound, and information, BirdNote inspires you to notice the world around you.

Episode Date
The Woodcock’s Silly Walk
00:01:45

When it comes to silly walks, no bird outdoes the American Woodcock’s one-of-a-kind strut. It goes like this: take one step forward, then rock your whole torso forward and back a few times before sliding another foot forward — all while keeping your head perfectly steady. It looks like a bird with an undeniable sense of rhythm. It’s not entirely clear why woodcocks walk this way. It’s another of the bird world’s little mysteries — and one of its grooviest dance moves. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 30, 2022
Dowitchers Get a Second Wind
00:01:36

The two American species of dowitchers, Long-billed and Short-billed, are similar in appearance but have distinctive calls. And they’re some of the continent’s most dramatic songsters. On their northern breeding grounds, Short-billed Dowitchers ascend as high as 150 feet in the air then glide slowly earthward, singing. At the end of the glide, they may take off again for another bout of song.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 29, 2022
New Homes for Cockatoos
00:01:40

The alpine forests of Australia’s southeast are home to an iconic pint-sized gray parrot with a bright red mohawk, and a call that’s been described as a “flying creaky gate”. The Gang-gang Cockatoo has seen significant habitat loss in recent years, especially after the 2020 wildfires. It’s now listed as an endangered species. A new national working group is coordinating recovery efforts. Researchers and community scientists are trialing an innovation on the Gang-gang population called the “Cockatube” — a PVC tube designed to host a cockatoo nest.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 28, 2022
Why Birds' Feet Don't Freeze
00:01:45

Have you ever watched ducks walking around in freezing temperatures and wondered why their feet don't freeze? And how do birds, including this Northern Flicker, sit on metal perches with no problem? Birds' feet have a miraculous adaptation that keeps them from freezing. Rete mirabile — Latin for "wonderful net" — is a fine, netlike pattern of arteries that interweaves blood from a bird's heart with the veins carrying cold blood from its feet and legs. The system cools the blood so the little blood that goes down to the feet is already cold, so the birds don't lose much heat. The small amount that goes to the feet is likely just enough to keep the feet from freezing.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 27, 2022
The Avocets of Bolivar Flats
00:01:43

The shallow waters and wide mudflats of the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary northeast of Galveston, Texas, are alive with thousands of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. American Avocets are often among the most abundant birds, with 5,000 or more here most winters. The avocets have sensitive bills that curve upward. As they wade, they sweep their heads back and forth and snap up the tiny crustaceans that touch their bills. This tactile feeding method is unique among the birds here. The Bolivar Peninsula is famous for its big flocks of water birds and concentrations of migrating songbirds. Both National Audubon and American Bird Conservancy have designated it an Important Bird Area, or IBA. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 26, 2022
Spark Bird: Maya Higa and Bean
00:01:45

When Maya Higa started interning at a zoo, she wasn't especially into birds — until she began rehabilitating a Red-tailed Hawk named Bean. Meanwhile, Maya was doing live-streams of herself singing and playing guitar on the website Twitch, just for fun, to a pretty small audience. The video went viral, and Maya's audience grew from there. Thousands of viewers watched Bean's rehabilitation on her streams, forming a bond with the bird. And this reminded Maya of her education work at the zoo. She has since founded the Alveus Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal sanctuary and virtual conservation education center. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 25, 2022
Titmice Lead the Way
00:01:36

In winter, many songbirds join flocks made up of multiple species that travel around looking for food, benefitting from safety in numbers. But a bird flock that doesn't move in the same direction soon scatters to the wind. It turns out that the Tufted Titmouse, a small gray songbird, is often the one leading the flock. Researchers studying the flight paths of flocks found that the paths taken by the titmice best reflected the direction of the group as a whole, compared to other species in the group. This was especially true when the flock moved quickly between sites, when staying organized is key.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 24, 2022
Snake-Eagles Are Awesome
00:01:45

When a soaring Short-toed Snake-Eagle spots a delicious snake, it swoops down, grabs it with its talons, then tears off the snake’s head. Still on the wing, it swallows the entire snake, head first. Smaller than Bald Eagles, they live mainly in Africa and have legs and toes covered in thick scales to protect them from bites. Snake-Eagles take on some of the swiftest and deadliest snakes in the world, like cobras and black mambas.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 23, 2022
Molly Adams on Birding with Long COVID
00:01:45

For Molly Adams, the founder of the Feminist Bird Club, getting COVID didn’t just mean a week or two under the weather. Like other people with long COVID, they’re continuing to have chronic symptoms after the viral infection. Fortunately, before COVID they had learned about a technique called atlasing — observing birds closely to figure out if they’re breeding in a certain habitat. The observations become part of a record called a breeding bird atlas. Molly says atlasing is a more soothing, slowed-down approach to birding and involves getting to know birds as individuals.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 22, 2022
Bird Names in Meskwaki
00:01:45

The poet Ray Young Bear writes in both English and Meskwaki, his first language. He says that the task of passing on Indigenous languages feels especially urgent now as linguistic scholars predict the loss of languages. 

The Meskwaki language is rich with bird names, like Tti Tti Ka Kwa Ha, the name for the robin, which emulates the bird’s song, he says. After decades of creating poems, novels, and songs, Ray Young Bear has dedicated himself to preserving and teaching his language and culture.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 21, 2022
Return of the Snowbird
00:01:41

You may see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer, but come fall, many more — those that have been nesting in the mountains or farther north — arrive to spend the winter. These juncos often visit birdfeeders for winter feasting. Dark-eyed Juncos forage on the ground. The flash of white tail-feathers when one is alarmed alerts other members of the flock, and is also used as part of the courtship display.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 20, 2022
Beaks and Bills
00:01:45

A bird’s bill is an incredible multi-tool — good for preening feathers, building a nest, self-defense, scratching, displaying, building a nest, and egg-turning. And a bill must be the right size and shape for the bird’s diet, whether that’s probing for worms, cracking open seeds, or tear apart prey.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 19, 2022
Bringing Condor Home
00:01:45

Tiana Williams-Claussen is a member of the Yurok Nation and Director of the Yurok Tribe Wildlife Department. In this episode, she shares the story of how the California Condor, known as Prey-go-neesh in the Yurok language, went extinct on Yurok lands due to the environmental exploitation that followed the California Gold Rush. The Yurok Tribe has forged a partnership with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bring condors back home.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 18, 2022
Partial Migration - Killdeer Play Leap Frog
00:01:45

The cries of a Killdeer are familiar across most of the US during spring and summer. But where do they go in winter? Killdeer that breed in the southern half of the US and along the Pacific Coast are year-round residents. But those that breed in the northern US and Canada, where winter conditions are more severe, migrate south to Mexico and Central America. Because the northern Killdeer fly south — right over the region where other Killdeer reside year-round — they are known as leap-frog migrants. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 17, 2022
Bears at the Bird Feeder
00:01:34

In bear country, food left outside or uncovered trash cans can become irresistible targets for bears looking for a quick snack. But even if you’ve put away any human food, don’t forget about bird feeders. Bears are omnivores and won’t hesitate to grab a bird seed snack. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that people take down bird feeders between April 1st and November 30th, when black bears are most active. During the winter, the bears return to their winter dens and bird feeding can resume.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 16, 2022
Geese in V-formation
00:01:44

Autumn…and geese fly high overhead in V-formation. But what about that V-formation, angling outward through the sky? This phenomenon — a kind of synchronized, aerial tailgating — marks the flight of flocks of larger birds, like geese or pelicans. Most observers believe that each bird behind the leader is taking advantage of the lift of a corkscrew of air coming off the wingtips of the bird in front. This corkscrew updraft is called a tip vortex, and it enables the geese to save considerable energy during long flights. The V-formation may also enhance birds’ ability to see and hear each other, thus avoiding mid-air collisions. Small birds probably do not create enough of an updraft to help others in the flock and don’t fly in vees.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 15, 2022
A Grandchild’s Song for Robins
00:01:45

Ray Young Bear is a writer, musician and a member of Meskwaki Nation. He considers himself a word collector, writing poetry in both English and Meskwaki, his first language. And he enjoys taking photos of the birds around his home in Iowa. In the spring of 2021, he was spending time with his grandson, Ozzy Young Bear. He composed a song in Meskwaki about how his grandson enjoyed watching the robins hunt for earthworms. He later recorded the song for a music collection called For the Birds: The Birdsong Project. Over 200 musicians, artists and writers contributed, with proceeds going to the National Audubon Society.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 14, 2022
Three Worldwide Raptors
00:01:33

Consider three species of raptors: the Barn Owl, Peregrine Falcon, and Osprey. They’re on every continent except Antarctica. Each has a specialized hunting prowess distinct from the other. They can fly great distances. And like many birds of prey, they mate for life. The Barn Owl, pictured here, has long been considered the single most widespread land bird in the world. But Ospreys and Peregrines have proven equally adaptable. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 13, 2022
Surf Scoters Stand Out
00:01:36

Surf Scoters are large colorful sea ducks. The male Surf Scoter’s huge red-orange bill with its white and black spots really stands out. It is a great tool for eating hard-shelled mollusks like clams and mussels. Surf Scoters spend the winter along the coastlines of North America. Look at the winter shore and you might see hundreds of them together at one time, diving in unison.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 12, 2022
Haley Scott on New York's Indigenous Landscapes
00:01:45

Haley Scott lives in the Bronx, where she helps other people experience the joy of New York’s wildlife as a bird walk leader. But she maintains a connection with another community of birds outside the city, on the Unkechaug Nation’s land, where she visits her dad’s side of the family. Leading bird walks in New York City with the Feminist Bird Club, Haley emphasizes the importance of recognizing the original inhabitants of the land, the Lenape. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 11, 2022
Boreal Chickadees Stay Home for the Winter
00:01:43

Boreal Chickadees live in the boreal forest year-round. How do they survive the harsh winter? First, during summer, they cache a great deal of food, both insects and seeds. Then in fall, they put on fresh, heavier plumage. And their feathers are denser than most birds', creating a comfy down parka. Most impressive? The chickadees lower their body temperature at night from 108 degrees to just 85 degrees, conserving their stores of insulating fat. Hats off to the Boreal Chickadee, a truly rugged bird! Learn more at the links below.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 10, 2022
Wenfei Tong on Seeing Ourselves in Birds
00:01:45

For biologist and writer Wenfei Tong, the line between people and animals has always felt fuzzy — or maybe feathery, in the case of birds. Wenfei loves to highlight commonalities we share with birds, like how young adult Acorn Woodpeckers sometimes stay with their parents if there aren't good territories available for them to move into right away. She thinks that seeing ourselves in birds could be a boon for conservation.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 09, 2022
Screech-Owls Go Fishing
00:01:42

Screech-owls are opportunistic diners. In the Pacific Northwest, they’ll prey on small birds, crayfish, large ants, or earthworms. In Arizona, pocket mice and pack rats. And in Ohio, biologists who noticed a fishy smell around Eastern Screech-Owl nest boxes found the remains of dozens of shad. It’s clear that screech-owls may be a consistent nocturnal predator on fish, especially in cooler months, when other prey are dormant.

Gotta feed those hungry owlets!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 08, 2022
Learning to Sing from a Blackbird
00:01:45

Many years ago, when writer and musician Ray Young Bear was training his singing voice, he took a kind of vocal lesson from the blackbirds. “they have the most complicated song in the world — high pitches and low notes, and then it smooths out, then it kicks up again,” he says. “I would listen to them and try to imitate their singing.”

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 07, 2022
Pulling Rank at the Birdfeeder
00:01:42

Birdfeeders full of seeds or suet can spark nonstop action. Chickadees flitter in and out. Finches expertly crack one seed after another, while jays, doves, woodpeckers and sparrows all join the flurry. This might bring to mind a neighborly picnic — but it’s not quite as friendly. At any given moment, there’s a distinct hierarchy in effect. More dominant birds are usually able to displace lower-ranking birds. But not always! The next time you’re watching a birdfeeder, try to figure out who’s in charge.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 06, 2022
Pelicans Go Fishing
00:01:45

There are two kinds of pelicans in North America – the American White Pelican and the Brown Pelican. And they’ve evolved different tactics to catch their prey.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 05, 2022
Providing Homes to Purple Martins
00:01:45

In the Southeast, on the lands of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw, Purple Martins nested in dried gourds hung up by Native Americans. This relationship might have developed because Purple Martins defend their turf, says Kelly Applegate, a tribal member and Commissioner of Natural Resources for the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe. White settlers copied the practice and put up gourds and birdhouses, too. But they also cleared forests where martins once nested and introduced House Sparrows and starlings that drove them out of woodpecker holes. Purple Martins now depend almost entirely on artificial nest boxes to survive. Kelly is encouraging people to provide homes for martins.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 04, 2022
BirdNoir: The Squirrel Mafia
00:01:45

In this episode of BirdNoir, the Private Eye hears from his friend Danny, who is having his bird feeders pilfered by a pack of rowdy squirrels. While a determined squirrel thief is hard to stop, the detective gives Danny suggestions on the best ways to foil these clever critters. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 03, 2022
Great Horned Owls Calling
00:01:45

A fledgling Great Horned Owl calls to be fed. Judging from the young bird's persistence, the parents seem to be responding only with calls, not with food. These entreaties can go on for weeks. Both parents let the fledgling know that it's time for him to feed himself. They've been bringing voles and rabbits for months. Silence and surprise are keys to the owls' success as hunters, so it's hard to imagine the juvenile Great Horned Owl improving his chances by being so vocal!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 02, 2022
Ray Young Bear on Meskwaki Spirituality
00:01:45

Ray Young Bear, a writer and member of the Meskwaki Nation, says that birds are important to Meskwaki spirituality. He says the reverence that Meskwaki culture has for birds and other living beings makes it essential to protect them and the places they live. And he wants more people to understand these aspects of animism, the form of spirituality found in Meskwaki religion and many other Indigenous traditions.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Nov 01, 2022
Who’s Afraid of Corvids?
00:01:44

Of all the birds out there, the corvid family — the crows, ravens, and jays — might have the spookiest reputation. But this idea that corvids are spooky is far from universal — it's mainly in the Western world, as corvid researcher Kaeli Swift explains.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 31, 2022
Frigatebirds - Seabirds That Can't Get Wet
00:01:37

Frigatebirds are seabirds, but one thing you’ll never see is a frigatebird floating on the ocean. Why not? Because their feathers, unlike those of nearly all other seabirds, are not waterproof. Instead, frigatebirds are masters of staying aloft. They soar above the ocean, riding a complex roller coaster of air. Intentionally flying into a cumulus cloud, which has a powerful updraft, they may rise as high as 2.5 miles into the frigid atmosphere. From this high point, frigatebirds — such as these Great Frigatebirds — can glide more than 35 miles without flapping their wings. Which is how these seabirds survive over the open ocean.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 30, 2022
Designing a Spider Web to Evade Bird Collision
00:01:45

One of the lesser known hazards of a bird’s life — when flitting from shrub to shrub — is collision with spiders’ webs. And when a bird flies through a web, it’s the spider’s hard work that takes the hit. It can take a spider an hour just to repair the damage and get on with the task of snaring its next meal. Some spiders have evolved a behavior to give birds advance warning of their webs. They weave into the structure visible designs of white, non-sticky silk, called stabilimenta. These make it easier for birds to see it — and avoid it.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 29, 2022
The Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia
00:01:45

Arguably the most bird rich country on Earth, Colombia is the home of about 20% of all bird diversity worldwide. And there’s a lovely book published by Rey Naranjo Editores titled Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia with over 5,000 striking, hand-drawn illustrations of the country’s avifauna.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 28, 2022
The Five Birds You’re Scared Of
00:01:45

Author and bird enthusiast Ashley C. Ford says that it’s good to have a list of at least five birds that you’re scared of — like the six foot tall cassowary — just to keep you honest. “It's very important to humble yourself and to understand where you actually lie on the food chain,” she says. But despite the goose’s mischievous reputation, she’d never have them on her list. “I grew up in the Midwest,” she says. “And I know personally I'm not scared of no goose.” Hear more of Tenijah Hamilton’s conversation with her birding heroes, Ashley C. Ford and Tracy Clayton, on the Bring Birds Back podcast.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 27, 2022
Geese Whiffling in for a Landing
00:01:41

Looking at a Canada Goose, you might not think their bodies are designed for fancy flying. But watch as a flock of geese comes in for a landing at a lake and you might be surprised. If the flock comes in too fast or too high above the water, geese have a little trick to slow themselves down for a safe landing. The geese stop flapping and then quickly roll their bodies upside down, while twisting their long necks the right way up. Finally, they rotate again to right themselves just in time to gently splash down. It’s a maneuver called whiffling. It seems to help the geese slow down quickly – but sometimes it might just be for fun.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 26, 2022
Meet the Blue Jay
00:01:45

If we had to pick one bird’s voice to symbolize our Eastern woodlands, the Blue Jay’s voice would likely be it. And as a frequent visitor to back yards and bird feeders, the Blue Jay is among the most recognized birds of the region. Nearly a foot long, Blue Jays can be loud and assertive when they approach a bird feeder, pushing smaller songbirds aside. But when nesting, the same jays can sneak to and from their nests with uncanny secrecy.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 25, 2022
Spark Bird: Kenn Kaufman
00:01:45

As a young child, Kenn Kaufman ventured into his neighborhood in search of the tigers, bears, and dinosaurs, but quickly found that Indiana doesn’t have those. So he set his sights on the next best thing: figuring out which birds were in his family’s yard. Though he’s now a world renowned birder and field guide author, he says his progress was slow. Today’s novice birders have access to mobile apps and websites that put photos, bird calls, and range maps at your fingertips. But whatever tools you choose, Kenn says there’s no substitute for getting outside and experiencing the birds for yourself. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 24, 2022
House Sparrows Can Open Doors
00:01:45

House Sparrows are ingenious birds that have learned a highly specialized skill: how to open automatic doors. House Sparrows have been seen activating electric-eye sensors to fly into restaurants, supermarkets, and home supply stores. What will they be up to next?

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 23, 2022
Powder Down
00:01:35

Hidden below the outer breast feathers of herons, pigeons, doves, tinamous, bustards and some parrots are patches of special down feathers. These feathers are never molted, and they grow continuously. The tips break down into a dust the consistency of talcum powder. Using a fringed claw on its middle toe, a heron collects some of the dust—or powder down—and works it into its feathers. Sort of like the way you might work conditioner into your hair.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 22, 2022
The Firebird’s Bright Outfit
00:01:45

You might have heard of the Phoenix, the legendary bird who bursts into flames and is reborn from its ashes. Well, its literary cousin is the Slavic myth of the Firebird, an elusive creature whose feathers burn and light up the night. Stories about Phoenix-like birds have spread all over, and Firebird legends are found in most Slavic cultures. These stories, like connective tissue, help unite people throughout the world.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 21, 2022
One Species Caring for Another
00:01:34

In North America, the European Starling has gained a bad reputation for competing with native bird species for nest cavities. But researchers in Ontario, Canada, were surprised to see three Hairy Woodpecker nestlings receiving care from both a female Hairy Woodpecker and a European Starling — a stunning example of a bird caring for another species’ young.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 20, 2022
Bird Sound Types and Qualities Part I
00:01:45

Since it’s often hard to see a bird, veteran birders characterize the sounds of birds in order to identify them. So what words do they use? Well, they use “whistle,” for example, to describe the sound of this Olive-sided Flycatcher. And "rattle" for that of the Belted Kingfisher. There's the trill of a Dark-eyed Junco. And the House Wren's “cascade!" The song of a Downy Woodpecker is a sort of “whinny." Listen again and see if you can recognize the types of sounds.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 19, 2022
An Inclusive Approach to Bird-a-Thon
00:01:45

Bird-a-thon is Massachusetts Audubon’s biggest fundraiser. Teams of birders spend 24 hours competing to observe as many bird species as they can, to encourage people to donate. But Meghadeepa Maity, who helped organize Bird-a-thon in 2021, realized that not everyone can spend all day traveling to find birds. They started to think of other approaches. Meghadeepa, who’s also an organizer for Birdability, helped create an inclusive Bird-a-thon experience: a stationary count circle at a wildlife sanctuary. The event had a great turnout — and plenty of birds.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 18, 2022
Birdability at the World Series of Birding
00:01:45

Team Nuthatch competed in the 2022 World Series of Birding. The team was organized by Birdability, a group that promotes accessibility in birding, and consisted of people with different disabilities. Despite challenging weather, the team persevered and won an award in the competition. Team member Jerry Berrier says that the team had to work together to find wheelchair accessible locations and quiet space for those with sensory concerns. And the group bonded quickly, like when Jerry volunteered to teach a teammate how to guide a person who is blind.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 17, 2022
Ravens and Crows - Who's Who?
00:01:45

Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped or triangular. Another clue is to listen closely to the birds' calls. Crows give a cawing sound, but ravens produce a lower croaking sound.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 16, 2022
Here Come the Merlins
00:01:36

Smaller than a pigeon — but fierce enough to knock one from the air — are the powerful, compact falcons known as Merlins. Climate change is pushing ranges of many birds farther north, but more and more Merlins have been nesting farther south, in towns and cities across the northern United States. Merlins will take over old crow nests, especially in conifer trees, in parks, cemeteries, and neighborhoods.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 15, 2022
The First North American Wildlife Refuge
00:01:45

In the center of Oakland, California, is Lake Merritt. People row in it, picnic and jog around it, and it's a place of respite within the city. And it hosts waterbirds such as ducks, geese, egrets, pelicans, cormorants, and coots. A beautifully illustrated field guide by Alex Harris, The Birds of Lake Merritt, describes the birds found around the waters of Lake Merritt, its history since the Ohlone peoples have populated it, all the way till today.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 14, 2022
Listening in on Birds
00:01:45

Collecting data on wild birds is crucial for their conservation. But it requires huge amounts of effort. One way to help streamline the process is with gizmos called autonomous recording units, or ARUs. For days or months, these recording devices eavesdrop on the environment around them, including the songs and calls of the local birds. Identifying the songs picked up on recordings can be almost as time-consuming as in-person field work, but new AI tools are quickly making it easier to analyze the audio.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 13, 2022
Ancient Murrelet Migration
00:01:41

We're used to birds migrating north to south and south to north. But the Ancient Murrelet migrates east to west and back across the North Pacific. These plump seabirds nest in colonies in old-growth forests, in burrows and rock crevices. But where do they go in winter? After breeding, many Ancient Murrelets migrate westward. Around November, they end up in the Yellow Sea or the Sea of Japan. Two months after that, they head back, reaching British Columbia in March, and the cycle begins anew.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 12, 2022
Ranching and Birding in Uruguay go Hand-in-Hand
00:01:45

In the Departamento de Maldonado of Uruguay, lives a biologist, Nicolás Marchand, who has been working with ranchers to make conservation and sustainability compatible with raising cattle in grasslands. A kind of approach that makes sure pastures for livestock also help host birds like the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, which spend their winters here. He wants to keep enhancing connections with ranchers, restoring pastures, and creating management practices that benefit wintering shorebirds — all to avoid losing more of these crucial ecosystems.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 11, 2022
Leave the Leaves
00:01:38

To help backyard birds through the winter, do less. Leave the leaves or rake them under plantings. The tasty insects and spiders underneath will be food for the towhee and this Song Sparrow. Don’t deadhead. Pine Siskins and goldfinches love to snack on dead flowerheads. Make an insect hotel out of natural objects, flower pots, or other “found” items to create hidey holes for insects. They will become food for wrens and other birds.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 10, 2022
Acorn Woodpecker Granaries
00:01:38

The Acorn Woodpecker is found in parts of the western US. It chips small recesses out of trees to fit the acorns it will harvest throughout the fall. A family of Acorn Woodpeckers may use this storage tree, or granary, for generations. Some of them hold as many as 50,000 acorns. So does the Acorn Woodpecker just kick back and munch acorns all winter? Nope! In the weeks after a fresh acorn is lodged in a hole, it dries and shrinks. So Acorn Woodpeckers spend much of the winter shuttling acorns from one hole to another, finding just the right fit.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 09, 2022
October Migrants - Look Who's Back!
00:01:45

In the October sunlight, a Lincoln's Sparrow – like this one – sings energetically from a hedgerow. Soon a Fox Sparrow chimes in. Both nested in Alaska last summer but will spend the winter farther south. The Snow Geese are moving, too. A massive movement of birds takes place in the fall. The exodus of summer visitors to the tropics has given way to a surge from the north. And predators can't be far behind.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 08, 2022
What’s in a Name? A Bird!
00:01:45

Names are conventions, right? But some names contain something special: a bird! For example, the name Paloma comes from the colloquial name in Spanish for the common pigeon, but as a human name it often refers to doves. Or Garzón, my last name, is derived from Garza, or Heron, in Spanish.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 07, 2022
Protecting New York’s Piping Plovers
00:01:45

Chris Allieri started the NYC Plover Project in spring 2021, after seeing people and dogs disturb plover nests at a popular beach. He realized how vulnerable the birds are to having their nesting areas disturbed. Chris contacted the National Park Service, and together they set up volunteer training. Today the Plover Project  has a volunteer force of about 75 people who educate beachgoers about plover nesting areas and sharing the beach with the birds.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 06, 2022
The Haunting Voice of the Common Loon
00:01:45

The call of the Common Loon brings to mind a summer visit to northern lakes. A "yodel" call is given by a male on his breeding territory. With his neck outstretched, the male waves his head from side to side, sending his eerie calls across forests and open water. The yodel entices females and asserts a claim of territory. Nothing common about this bird!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 05, 2022
Uruguayan Fields of Gold for Birds and Ranchers
00:01:41

In the smallest South American country, Uruguay, in-between its two largest ones, Brazil and Argentina, lives Joaquín Aldabe, a biologist and ecologist. He works with Manomet as a Ranching and Conservation Specialist on the East Coast of Uruguay, near the coastal lagoon, Laguna de Castillos. It’s a place where migratory birds such as the American Golden Plover visit cattle pastures. Joaquín, the ranchers and other agricultural workers are finding ways to use these pastures sustainably. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 04, 2022
Tykee James on Recovering America's Wildlife Act
00:01:45

Tykee James is a Senior Government Affairs Representative at The Wilderness Society in DC. Gridlock in Washington can be a real challenge to protecting birds, but a bill called Recovering America's Wildlife Act is giving Tykee hope. The bill would provide $1.4 billion a year in funding for state and tribal conservation efforts. Tykee says that’s important to protect habitats and species that reach across state borders.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 03, 2022
The Hardy Harlequin
00:01:45

Some ducks don't sound like ducks at all. Some, like the Harlequin, squeak. Harlequins are unique in other ways, too. Quick and agile in rushing white water, they dive to the bottom of mountain streams for food, and use fast-flowing rivers for breeding. If you're lucky enough to spot a Harlequin Duck, you may guess how it got its name. Dressed in vivid multi-colored patches, Harlequin is the jester of traditional Italian comedy.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 02, 2022
Green Heron
00:01:36

The Green Heron forages on the banks of small bodies of fresh water. Relying on its plumage for camouflage, it perches motionless — body horizontal and stretched forward — waiting for small fish to come close. This heron may use "bait" while hunting for fish. It drops a feather, a live insect, or a twig on the water's surface. Then it hunkers down and waits for unsuspecting prey to venture within reach. Clever heron!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Oct 01, 2022
The Birdsong Chameleon
00:01:45

Found in Australian forests, male Superb Lyrebirds can mimic calls well enough to convince the bird they’re imitating that the lyrebird is one of their own! While males sing to attract mates, females imitate the calls of predators, which could help frighten other birds off their territories.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 30, 2022
Seabirds in the Desert
00:01:37

The White-vented Storm-Petrel is a small black and white seabird found off the coasts of Chile and Peru. Storm-petrels spend their entire lives at sea, except when nesting. Scientists had long been mystified about just where this species nests. A search lasting eight years led them to a site 50 miles inland in the Atacama desert, a place often compared to the surface of Mars. They employed dogs specially trained to sniff out seabirds. The dogs helped locate White-vented Storm-Petrel nests tucked into mineral deposits deep in the desert. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 29, 2022
Woodpeckers as Keystone Species
00:01:45

Woodpeckers - including this Northern Flicker - are master carpenters of the bird world. They're called "keystone" species for their crucial role in creating habitat suited to other woodland wildlife. Abandoned woodpecker nest-holes become nests or roosts for small owls, cavity-nesting ducks, swifts, bluebirds, swallows, wrens, and other birds, as well as many small mammals. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 28, 2022
The Gulf of Fonseca’s Restaurant and Restoration
00:01:40

The Gulf of Fonseca is shared between El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Ecologist Salvadora Morales studies best management practices in shrimp farming and salt production to benefit shorebirds in her native Nicaragua and other parts of the Gulf. The Wilson’s Plover, many of which breed in the southern U.S., comes to the shrimp farms of the Gulf to rest and refuel. But this is also a great place to have a shrimp farm. Salvadora and her team help make sure that the plovers are able to find places to rest within the shrimp farms. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 27, 2022
The Roost That Saved a Refuge
00:01:45

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge was once where some of the country’s dirtiest weapons were produced, like mustard and sarin gas and napalm. The discovery of roosting Bald Eagles in the 1980s helped change the course of this prairie landscape. It started a process of remediation that has transformed the space into a refuge for over 300 species of wildlife.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 26, 2022
Dippers on the Elwha
00:01:40

In 2014, the dams on the Elwha River in Washington State were removed. As the river ran free again, salmon from the Pacific were able to spawn upstream for the first time in 100 years, dramatically improving conditions for American Dippers. Recent research has demonstrated that birds with access to salmon have higher survival rates. And they are 20 times more likely to attempt to raise two broods in a season, the most important contributor to population growth.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 25, 2022
Bird in Flight, Strong but Light
00:01:42

The feathers of a bird are, for their weight, among the strongest structures in the world. The bones of this Magnificent Frigatebird weigh less than its feathers! To further reduce weight while maintaining strength, many bird bones are fused. In addition, the pectoral and pelvic girdles and ribs are joined to make a rigid box that supports those long wings, just as the wings support the bird.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 24, 2022
The Bird of Freedom
00:01:45

There’s a bird in Cuba with plumage in blue, red and white — the same colors as the nation’s flag. The Tocororo, or Cuban Trogon, is the national bird of Cuba. When the Tocororo is kept in a cage, they often die. This fact has become a metaphor of freedom embraced by Cubans. The Cuban Trogon is a medium-sized bird often found in pairs. Its song sounds like its Spanish name, “Tocororo.” While el Tocororo is currently abundant, its population is declining due to loss of habitat. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 23, 2022
Hear White-throated Sparrows Learning to Sing
00:01:38

The White-throated Sparrow’s melancholy whistle is hauntingly beautiful. But when you hear an adult sparrow performing, just know that the bird wasn’t always an expert singer. In the fall, listen for White-throated Sparrows rehearsing their song. Inexperienced young birds sometimes begin with disorganized jumbles of notes known as sub-songs. As winter deepens, the first-year birds begin to get the syllables of their songs down, but they might sound shaky and off-key. But by summer, hopefully, all the new adult birds will be virtuosos.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 22, 2022
Chestnut-collared Longspur
00:01:32

The cheerful-voiced Chestnut-collared Longspur shares its northern prairie breeding range with grazing cattle. Although heavy grazing can have adverse effects, breeding densities of longspurs jump by two, three, or even 10 times when ranchers graze their cattle responsibly on native prairies. Two centuries ago, the birds were probably more abundant on prairies used by bison than on untouched stands of tall grass.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 21, 2022
The Western Sandpiper’s Winter Migration
00:01:45

Along the coast of Sinaloa in México, there are species of shorebirds with one of the longest migrations in the Western Hemisphere. One such species is the Western Sandpiper, here known as el playerito occidental, wants to eat. But wetland habitats where they find their food are affected by the shrimp farming industry. Juanita Fonseca works with the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and with Manomet, creating guidelines that help shrimp farmers share the coastline with shorebirds.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 20, 2022
The Feminist Bird Club
00:01:45

The Feminist Bird Club, or FBC for short, is a birding group that’s intentional about making sure people from all backgrounds feel welcome, says FBC board member Jeana Fucello. At this group’s events, birding and social justice go hand-in-hand, says Kasia Chmielinski, the co-founder of the Jersey City FBC chapter. The group discusses the history of the place they’re visiting, from the original inhabitants of the land to the legacies of polluting companies — helping contextualize the place and its wildlife. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 19, 2022
An Albatross Surfs the Wind
00:01:27

By moving from the faster high air to slower low air, or vice versa, an albatross can propel itself forward. In a series of sinuous loops, the albatross surfs the wind, up and down, repeating the pattern over and over again as it moves thousands of miles across the ocean.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 18, 2022
Why Are There Flightless Birds?
00:01:45

The ability to fly seems to define birds. But there are more than 50 species of flightless birds throughout the world — from the Ostrich and Kiwi to flightless rails, ducks, and this Humboldt Penguin. Why did they evolve the inability to fly? Many dwelt on islands. Others evolved until they were huge -- like the extinct 12-foot-tall Moas of New Zealand. And the penguins? Unlike most flightless birds, they still have the strong flight muscles and keeled breastbones of flying birds. They are supremely graceful flyers. But they do it under water. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 17, 2022
BirdNoir - The Hair Bandit
00:01:45

 In this episode of BirdNoir, the P.I. gets a call from someone desperate over a bird stealing a tuft of her precious Pomeranian’s fur. The detective is able to ID the thief, a bird with so light a touch that it can take fur from a snoozing dog without waking it. The motive: nice, warm lining for the bird’s nest.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 16, 2022
Putting the Hum in Hummingbird
00:01:45

To figure out the source of a hummingbird’s hum, scientists built a special rig to measure air pressure, twelve high-speed cameras, and over 2000 microphones to observe hummingbirds fluttering in place at an artificial flower. The researchers found that the hum derives from the difference in air pressure between the top and bottom of the wings, which alternates forty times a second as the hummingbird flaps. The rapidly shifting air pressure produces a harmonic set of sounds, from low to high, creating that iconic, musical hum.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 15, 2022
Connecticut Warbler
00:01:41

Connecticut Warblers nest in the northern boreal forests, migrate through the Midwest, and winter in the rainforests of South America. Even with all that traveling, you rarely see one of these birds. Though their loud, ringing song might be easy to identify, it often seems to emanate from low in a tree when the warbler is perched high in the crown, frustrating birders from Canada to Brazil.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 14, 2022
Inspired by A Lake and a Sister
00:01:45

Marina Castellino and her sister Marcela share a love of birds, especially those living in Mar Chiquita, one of South America’s largest wetlands. Marina got inspired from seeing her older sister’s love for shorebirds. The two sisters helped get Mar Chiquita declared a National Park and National Reserve for Argentina. That supports birds like sandpipers that migrate between South and North America. So if you see one near you, efforts from Marina may have helped you see it there!  

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 13, 2022
Nuthatches Sweeping the Nest
00:01:27

White-breasted Nuthatches aren’t the toughest birds on the block — but when it comes to their nests, they know how to put up defenses. Squirrels could easily duck inside a nest cavity and gobble up the eggs. That’s why you might see nuthatches sweeping around their nest hole with a beetle or other insect. It’s thought that chemical compounds from the insect smell bad to squirrels, driving them away. And if that doesn’t work, nuthatches try to make themselves look as big as possible.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 12, 2022
All Those Fish in a Puffin's Beak
00:01:45

Puffins fly under water into schools of slender fish, filling their large beaks. Fish are wedged into the gape, the stretchy skin at the beak hinge, but the bill edges still line up neatly. The dangling fish won’t slide out because the puffin’s tongue and roof of the mouth are heavily lined with backward-angled spines. When its beak is full, the adult flies back to its nest and feeds it all to a single chick.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 11, 2022
Snail Kite - Bird of the Everglades
00:01:41

When Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature declared the Everglades, America's largest wetland, totally worthless. In 1905, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was elected governor on a campaign to drain them. So over the years, the slowly flowing "River of Grass" has been replaced by a series of reservoirs with little water movement. The endangered Snail Kite feeds only on the Apple Snail. And neither kites nor snails flourish in places that are permanently under water. Learn more at StateOfTheBirds.org.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 10, 2022
Warbler Migration in Ohio with Kenn Kaufman
00:01:45

Every spring in Northwest Ohio, the shores of Lake Erie transform into a birder’s paradise. Birder and author Kenn Kaufman, who lives in this area, says that of the many species that migrate through here, one group of vibrant, vivacious songbirds stands out from the rest: warblers. Trees leaf out later in the season along the lakeshore, making the tiny warblers easier to see as they forage for food. Northwest Ohio has earned a reputation as the Warbler Capital of the World among birders in the know. But Kenn wishes everyone could glimpse the beauty of warbler migration, even if they don’t make it to the Warbler Capital.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 09, 2022
Catching Kori Bustards for Science
00:01:45

In the animal world, large, charismatic species tend to get the most attention. But for the Kori Bustard, the largest flying bird in Africa, that attention hasn't translated to a ton of scientific research. Katherine Mertes, a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, tracks animals for a living, and a few years ago she was focused on Kori Bustards. Her team used solar-powered tracking devices to study the bustards’ movements. But first, they had to catch the birds — and trying to gently herd a bustard into a giant net is quite a task.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 08, 2022
Birds Can Eat Toxic Berries
00:01:45

Many bird species can eat the fruits of plants that are toxic to humans —even the white berries found on poison ivy. These birds just aren’t sensitive to the compounds in the berries that are irritating or poisonous to people. While you probably want to stay away from poison ivy, you can improve habitats for birds by planting native fruit bushes and advocating for wildlife-friendly gardening in public green spaces. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 07, 2022
The Wilson’s Phalarope’s Dance
00:01:45

Marcela Castellino works as a conservation specialist for Manomet’s Flyways team, visiting wetlands, salt lagoons, and salt flats around Mar Chiquita in Argentina, one of South America’s biggest salty wetlands. She surveys shorebirds to track their populations and strengthen their conservation. One species she studies, Wilson’s Phalarope, travels from their breeding grounds in North America to winter in huge numbers at Mar Chiquita. As they feed, they swim in circles, swirling the water and stirring up things to eat.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 06, 2022
A Bird Migrates South, Step by Step
00:01:42

Wood Thrushes migrate more than 2,000 miles each way, between their summer breeding territories in the US and Canada to where they winter in Central America. During migration, the birds will fly for hundreds of miles at night, then stop for days or weeks to refuel. In the spring, they’ll head north three times as fast as they did during their southbound fall migration.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 05, 2022
The Fine Art of Dabbling
00:01:32

Picture this Gadwall duckling swimming slowly across a pond, skimming the water’s surface with its broad, spatulate bill. This behavior is called dabbling. Along with the pond water, multitudes of tiny particles pass through the duck’s bill. Somehow it sorts out and swallows the edible seeds and invertebrates, while rejecting the tiny, inedible bits of grit, mud, and debris. To see how a duck pulls this off, we need to pry its bill open and look carefully inside. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 04, 2022
Jaegers Give Chase in September
00:01:45

A tern or gull plunges headfirst into the water, then bounces aloft grasping a small fish in its bill. But before the bird can swallow its catch, a Parasitic Jaeger swoops in. The jaeger nips the bird's wing, and it drops its hard-won fish. The pirate catches the fish in mid-air and gulps it down. The jaeger (German for hunter) is built for sprinting speed and predatory feats. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 03, 2022
Bald Eagles Fledge
00:01:36

When young Bald Eagles fledge, the event is the culmination of nearly a year’s work by the parents. Let’s recap how it might have gone: male and female build a nest over the winter. By March, they have two eggs. The female incubates the eggs for about a month, with the male taking an occasional turn. The result? A couple of tiny, three-ounce chicks. At eight weeks, they’re as heavy as the adults — 10 to 14 pounds. Two weeks later, they make their first flights. But it will take another 10 weeks of practice flights and provisioning by the adults before the young birds are ready to strike out on their own. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 02, 2022
Banding Birds
00:01:45

Willistown Conservation Trust in Pennsylvania carries out bird banding to help researchers understand bird populations. Led by licensed bird banders, a team of volunteers catches birds using mist nets — 8-foot tall nets made of fine nylon string that practically disappear when strung out between poles. After carefully untangling birds from the net, volunteers weigh and measure the birds, affixing a small metal band to their legs with a unique ID. Compiling records for many banded birds helps keep track of whole species. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Sep 01, 2022
Including Female Birds in Conservation Plans
00:01:45

For many species of birds, scientists know more about the males than the females. And that’s a problem when making a conservation plan for a species that maps out which habitats to protect. Joanna Wu, a PhD student at UCLA, says that in some species of warblers, males and females live in completely different habitats during the winter. Joanna hopes to study how to better incorporate female birds into conservation efforts and ensure that the whole species is protected.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 31, 2022
Male Mallards Disappear
00:01:40

By late summer, the male Mallard’s need for fancy feathers to attract the females has passed. These birds have molted, and their bright feathers are replaced with mottled brown ones. Subdued colors help camouflage the male ducks, protecting them from predators. Come fall, the male Mallards will molt again and become the colorful dandies we remember.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 30, 2022
Owls Migrate, Too
00:01:45

When you think of bird migrations, you might think of a bluebird or a robin first. But some owls do migrate – such as the Short-eared Owl, which flies south for the winter. Northern Saw-whet Owls were once thought non-migratory, but in fact they travel at night, unseen. Snowy Owls breed in the Arctic then wander toward the south, staying wherever they can find food. Some Burrowing Owls spend their whole life in one place. But others migrate every spring and fall with the regularity of a bluebird.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 29, 2022
Cedar Waxwings - Sleek and Handsome
00:01:41

When courting in spring, male and female Cedar Waxwings communicate with distinctly different calls and, perched side by side, often pass back and forth between them a berry or other small fruit or even a flower petal. Waxwings display a wealth of eye-catching plumage. If you relish the company of Cedar Waxwings, plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. Find native plants for your garden at Audubon's Native Plant Database.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 28, 2022
Jays Identify Good Nuts by Shaking Them
00:01:38

Some birds stash unopened seeds for use later. But how do they know which seeds are worth the trouble, before expending the energy to open them? A team of scientists from South Korea and Poland may have an answer. As part of a series of experiments, the scientists observed the behavior of Mexican Jays presented with peanuts in their shells. The research team documented the birds shaking nuts in their beaks to assess the weight and possibly listening for the nuts rattling. In other words, jays use the same types of sensory cues that humans do when choosing a melon in the supermarket. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 27, 2022
At the Escarpment
00:01:45

Long, upward slopes called escarpments offer a good chance of seeing some of the many raptor species found in Belize. Shaped like a compact Red-tailed Hawk, White Hawks are white overall with black markings and scan the landscape for reptile prey. Bat Falcons have a darkly barred chest and cinnamon belly, and chase down swifts, dragonflies, and the bats that give them their name. Ornate Hawk-Eagles stand over two feet tall and are capable of catching monkeys.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 26, 2022
August Molt
00:01:45

By August, many birds have just completed the intense rigors of nesting and raising young and now undergo a complete molt. Molt is a cyclic process of feather growth. As new feathers grow in, they push the old ones out. Why molt? Because feathers wear out. Songbirds that migrate long distances need to complete this process on a tight schedule, to be ready when it's time to strike out in September. You might not even recognize this American Goldfinch in its winter plumage. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 25, 2022
Ding-dong Ditched!
00:01:45

In this episode of BirdNoir, the P.I. gets a call from Mrs. Pico, a friendly woman who always has homemade cookies ready for visitors. But someone’s playing a trick on her: knocking on the door and then disappearing! The P.I. suspects the culprit is a bird and helps Mrs. Pico narrow down the list of suspects. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 24, 2022
Protecting Petrels that Live on a Volcano
00:01:45

The ‘Ua’u or Hawaiian Petrel is an endangered species once thought extinct or nearly so. But in recent decades, biologists have relocated some of their well-hidden nests — such as underneath the lava fields of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. Areas where the lava has long since cooled have deep tubes in which the ‘Ua’u can make their burrows. Despite their secretive burrows, the ‘Ua’u are still at risk of predators such as feral cats. A fence completed in 2016 keeps predators away from the petrel burrows, giving them a space to thrive.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 23, 2022
Lights Out for Bird Migration
00:01:38

Many birds migrate at night, taking advantage of less turbulent conditions and cooler temperatures. But that also means that migrating birds  can get disoriented by bright lights and collide with a building. Julia Wang is the project leader for BirdCast, which provides forecasts for bird migration so that people know when they should keep their lights off. Turning off the lights during peak migration times can save birds and save energy at the same time.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 22, 2022
Crested Auklets Entice Their Mates with Scent
00:01:45

Crested Auklets are small seabirds that nest on remote cliffs in the Northern Pacific and the Bering Sea. But it’s their smell that really sets these birds apart. They smell like tangerines! Experiments show that females go for males that emit the strongest scents.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 21, 2022
Night Singers
00:01:45

A bird like the Whip-poor-will is a true night bird – feeding, and mating, and nesting in the dark. But for about a week each spring, male Yellow-breasted Chats also sing in the darkness as they call out to the arriving females — their potential mates. There are other night singers, too!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 20, 2022
Building Chimney Swifts a New Home
00:01:45

Public radio station WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, renovated a historic schoolhouse to move into. But there was a bird problem: the old chimney had to come down, and Chimney Swifts were known to nest in it. So the station decided to custom-build the swifts a new home: a Chimney Swift tower right on the front lawn. The builders worked quickly to finish the tower ahead of the Chimney Swift’s spring migration, and WYSO staff members played recordings of swift calls to help attract them to the new home.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 19, 2022
Raising the Clever ‘Alalā
00:01:45

The ‘Alalā is a crow species that only lives on Hawai’i. In the 1990s, the species was on the verge of extinction. So biologists decided to raise ‘Alalā in captivity, aiming to release them once the captive population was big enough. But these intelligent birds have to learn many skills to survive in the wild, such as communication skills and avoiding predators. Several ‘Alalā were released and seemed to get the hang of avoiding hawks. These experienced birds returned to captivity and could help pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 18, 2022
How Birds Stay Cool
00:01:45

On a hot summer’s day, watch a bird such as a crow — or this Purple Martin — very carefully. You’ll never see them sweat, because birds don’t have sweat glands. So how do they keep cool? One way is panting. As the bird breathes rapidly, heat is carried out of its body through the lungs and air sacs. Bare skin on the legs, face, and beak also help with cooling. So do puffing out feathers, fluttering wings, or splashing in a puddle or birdbath. And soaring birds like hawks can simply ride the updrafts far above ground to cooler air. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 17, 2022
Saving Honeycreepers from Avian Malaria
00:01:45

Avian malaria has devastated native Hawaiian birds called honeycreepers. And now, climate change is allowing the mosquitoes that carry the disease to spread into the last mountain refuges of highly endangered honeycreepers on the island of Kauai. However, there’s hope that a new tool could eradicate the disease. Researchers are raising mosquitoes in the lab infected with Wolbachia, a bacterium that makes them infertile. When these males mate with wild female mosquitos, they fail to reproduce. While they wait for the mosquito solution to become available, biologists are carrying out last-ditch efforts to keep the species alive in captivity.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 16, 2022
The Women Who Fought the Feather Fad
00:01:41

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the human fascination with bird feathers went a little too far. Women’s hats and dresses featured extravagant feathers from birds both near and far. The trade in feathers drove several species, from the Little Egret to the Great Crested Grebe, to near-extinction. Fed up with the killing of wild birds for fashion, a group of British women met to put an end to this cruelty. The organization became the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, or RSPB, which continues to be a leader in bird conservation today.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 15, 2022
The Phoebe and the Pewee
00:01:45

The Eastern Phoebe (pictured here) is one of the most familiar flycatchers east of the Rockies. Because the Eastern Phoebe repeats its name when it sings, it’s a pretty straightforward voice to identify and remember. But there’s another flycatcher east of the Rockies that whistles its name over and over: It’s the Eastern Wood-Pewee. This bird is more often heard than seen. And it wouldn’t be unusual to hear a pewee and a phoebe at the same spot. With careful listening, though, you can tell them apart by their singing styles.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 14, 2022
The Peacock's Tail: More Than Meets the Eye
00:01:41

When a male Indian Peafowl unfurls its magnificently-colored tail and shakes it, it creates an ultra low frequency sound that we humans can’t hear. But it seems to get the special attention of female birds, called peahens.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 13, 2022
A Book for Beginning Birders
00:01:44

After countless birding adventures of her own, Sharon Stiteler — who’s also known as Birdchick — decided to write a book that could serve as a fun introduction for beginning birders. Sharon compares the size and shape of each bird species in the book to everyday objects as a memory aid. She likens a Ruby-throated Hummingbird to a jalapeno, for example. Handy phonetic pronunciation guides break down how to say each bird’s name. Learn more in Sharon Stiteler’s book, North American Bird Watching for Beginners: Field Notes on 150 Species to Start Your Birding Adventures.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 12, 2022
Hawai‘i’s One-of-a-Kind Bird Diversity
00:01:45

Hawai‘i is home to many birds found nowhere else. In a stunning example of natural selection, birds called honeycreepers evolved to fill many different roles in Hawaiian ecosystems. Tragically, many native Hawaiian birds have gone extinct, including over half of the honeycreepers. The threats they face include habitat loss, disease, and introduced mammal species that prey on them. But some honeycreepers, such as a bird called the Palila, hang on to survival. Efforts to protect the Palila from invasive species could help the birds thrive again.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 11, 2022
The Secret Lives of Goldfinches
00:01:45

American Goldfinches are one of our most familiar birds, but they lead lives that are anything but ordinary. These birds will sometimes raise two broods a year, have a secret weapon against cowbirds, and have the ability to distinguish between songs that — to our ears — sound the same. Backyard birds they may be, but American Goldfinches never cease to amaze.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 10, 2022
Native Hawaiian Names for Birds
00:01:45

Noah Gomes is an educator and researcher with a life-long love of birds and a passion for Hawaiian culture and language. His research into Native Hawaiian names for birds has shed light on the long-standing connections between people and birds on the islands. Noah helped reconnect the name ʻAlawī to the bird otherwise known as the Hawaiian Creeper. By exploring the links between humans and wildlife, Noah says we can find better ways to live alongside these birds, many of which are at risk of extinction.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 09, 2022
Do Penguins Blush?
00:01:41

Humboldt Penguins living along the Pacific Coast of Chile and Peru are adapted to cold. But on land, temperatures rise to 100+ degrees, and penguins need to cool off. So these penguins have pink patches of bare skin on their face, under their wings, and on their feet. On hot days, the patches turn a deep, rosy color, as blood rushes to the surface to dissipate heat. They appear to be blushing, but they’re really flushing!

If you ever miss a BirdNote, you can always get the latest episode. Just tell your smart speaker: “play the podcast BirdNote.”

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 08, 2022
How High Birds Fly II
00:01:41

Bar-headed Geese, champions of high-altitude migration, leave their nesting grounds in Tibet and scale the Himalayan range on their way to wintering grounds in the lowlands of India. How do they do it? These geese have a breathing structure that extracts oxygen from thin air, even at 30,000 feet. Inhaled air passes through the lungs and is temporarily stored in several sacs, then circulated back through the lungs. The capillaries in their breast muscles are more numerous than in other birds, providing the muscles with a greater supply of oxygen.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 07, 2022
What Do Desert Birds Drink?
00:01:45

In the desert Southwest, water can be scarce. Yet some birds, like this Black-throated Sparrow, thrive in a scorching landscape. The birds obtain moisture from foods like nectar and fruit, as well as insects and other prey. They tuck into the shade in the heat of the day, so they won’t lose water in panting. And they have extremely efficient kidneys, so they excrete almost no liquid. Amazing!

The soundscapes featured in today’s show were recorded by Gordon Hempton and provided courtesy of QuietPlanet.com.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 06, 2022
Truffle-Hunting Birds
00:01:37

With their excellent sense of smell, pigs are renowned for sniffing out truffles, a fungus that grows underground and is prized for its taste. But it turns out that some bird species can also find their way to a truffle treat. Researchers working in the Patagonia region of Chile had noticed truffles with little beak-sized bite marks, and even watched a bird eat a truffle. They found truffle DNA in the birds’ droppings, suggesting that truffles are a staple of the birds’ diet. Some of the fungi species eaten by the Patagonian birds look like berries that grow locally, which might help birds see them better. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 05, 2022
New Zealand Ranger Saving Birds from Stoats
00:01:45

Ranger Evan Smith of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is, according to one visitor, “a bit of a legend.” Since 2011, Ranger Smith has raised money to help protect native birds from stoats, a kind of weasel introduced from Europe.  When he began working on the Routeburn Track hiking trail 20 years ago, he didn’t see or hear many birds. His nightly “hut talks” has helped the project raise $200,000 for stoat control. And summer by summer, the park sees more bird life along the trails.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 04, 2022
The Pungent Mudflat
00:01:41

On the shore of a saltwater bay, the tide goes out, revealing a broad expanse of dark, glistening mudflat. Mudflats are rich in nutrients, such as decomposing organic matter and minerals. Far from wastelands, mudflats also support a bounty of life including vast quantities of tiny snails and clams, worms, crustaceans, larvae, and much more. Millions of shorebirds - including these Lesser (right) and Greater (left) Yellowlegs - follow shorelines and their mudflats each spring and fall, where they feast upon those tiny creatures hidden beneath the mud's surface, a banquet that powers the birds' continent-spanning migrations.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 03, 2022
Savannah Sparrow
00:01:34

Savannah Sparrows are abundant in open habitats throughout North America. In spring, they migrate north from the Southern US and Mexico to open agricultural fields, meadows, coastal grasslands, salt marshes, and even tundra to breed and raise young. They nest on the ground and walk, run, or hop to catch insects and spiders. When you get the chance to hear one, you might mistake it for an insect.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

If you ever miss a BirdNote, you can always get the latest episode. Just tell your smart speaker, “Play the podcast BirdNote.”

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 02, 2022
Black Botanists Week
00:01:45

In 2020, the first Black Birders Week celebrated the contributions of Black birders and called for greater inclusivity in the outdoors. Later that summer, the first Black Botanists Week premiered. Georgia Silvera Seamans, an urban forester, helped organize the event. Now in its third year, the week helps foster a community of Black people passionate about plants and highlights the importance of making green spaces accessible to everyone. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Aug 01, 2022
Burrowing Owls Hiss Like a Rattlesnake!
00:01:40

Despite its name, the Burrowing Owl doesn’t do much digging. It’s better known for its hair-raising hiss, which may have evolved to mimic the warning of a cornered rattlesnake. The sonic threat of a venomous reptile could be just enough to warn away most unwanted visitors from the owl’s nest burrow. In one experiment, ground squirrels were nearly as alarmed by the Burrowing Owl’s hiss as they were by the recording of a real rattlesnake!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 31, 2022
Crow Parents, Fearless Defenders
00:01:35

Although the American Crow may seem blasé about pillaging another bird's nest, it regards a threat to its own young as a punishable offense. To protect their nest, adult crows dive-bomb people, cats, and other animals, and even other birds. Young crows fledge when they are around five or six weeks old, and their parents continue to care for them for months.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 30, 2022
Common Nighthawk, Uncommon Sound
00:01:45

Swooping and diving through the air on its long slender wings, the Common Nighthawk emerges at dusk to chase down aerial insects. Nighthawks have short bills that open wide, so they can vacuum up their insect prey as they fly along.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 29, 2022
Prions Filter-Feed Like Whales
00:01:36

Birds called prions have an especially creative approach to getting their food. They pass seawater through their mouths and filter it to catch tiny animals such as krill and other small crustaceans. It’s similar to how baleen whales feed, leading to the prion’s nickname: the whale-bird. The sides of their bills have comb-like structures. Small food items get trapped in the combs as water flows past. In Greek, the word “prion” means saw, which refers to the bird’s highly specialized mouth. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 28, 2022
Are Birds Nests Reused?
00:01:45

Let’s talk about nests. Every spring, robins build their cup-shaped nests using grass and mud. Orioles weave a hanging sack. It’s hard work, and yet once the chicks fledge, the structures probably won’t be reused. But bigger birds, such as herons, hawks, and eagles, often reuse a nest for many years. Europe’s migratory White Storks — like those pictured here — get the award for best reuse. One nest site, still used in 1930 and likely seeing many repairs, dated back to 1549. That’s a continuous series of stork pairs nesting in one spot for 381 years!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 27, 2022
Making Birding Spots More Accessible
00:01:45

Freya McGregor is the coordinator of Birdability, an organization that works to make birding more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. She says that one of the big challenges is that different parts of accessible design don’t get connected — for example, when a paved trail for wheelchair users has info signs placed too from the trail to read. Designing parks with accessibility in mind from the parking lot and all along the trail can help make outdoor experiences for people with disabilities more self-directed and independent. Learn more about Birdability on the Bring Birds Back podcast.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 26, 2022
BirdNoir: The One That Got Away
00:01:45

In this episode, the Private Eye tells his saddest story: his nemesis bird. That’s what birders call a species that keeps giving you the slip. His nemesis is the Painted Bunting, a colorful gem of a bird. When word of the species being spotted nearby reaches the PI, he rushes off to see it, hoping to end his struggle to see the bird at last…

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 25, 2022
Playful Keas
00:01:45

Keas are large alpine parrots from New Zealand. Intelligent and social, they have olive-green plumage, a red rump, and a long, curved beak. Keas produce a distinct warbling call, a “play call,” that sounds — and functions — much like a human’s contagious laughter. Scientists made recordings of captive Keas making warbling calls, then played them for wild Keas. They began playing harder and even engaged birds that hadn’t been playing. Hearing it seemed to put them in a playful mood, even when they were alone.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 24, 2022
Swift Bricks
00:01:39

Common Swifts in Europe nest in eaves and under roof tiles and gables. But modern construction doesn’t have these nooks and crannies, and populations of swifts have been declining. However, there’s a solution called the “swift brick,” a small nesting box that fits right into the wall of a house or office building.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 23, 2022
Bird Scent: It's All About the Bacteria
00:01:41

Many birds have an excellent sense of smell. And the odors that birds make can act as mating signals for some species. The source for many of these scents, says biologist Danielle Whittaker, are the microbes that live in birds’ preen oil, which they use to keep their feathers in good condition. Danielle and other scientists are studying how the genes that regulate birds' immune systems might help control these microbes. This research could help connect the birds’ genetics to the scents they use to attract mates. Learn more in Danielle Whittaker’s new book, The Secret Perfume of Birds: Uncovering the Science of Avian Scent

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 22, 2022
Does a Robin Hear Its Worm?
00:01:45

How does a robin know a worm is in one exact spot? Does it see the worm or hear it? Smell it? Sense its movements through its feet? To find the answer, researchers buried worms in soil in a tray. They covered the soil with a thin but opaque sheet of cardboard, followed by more soil, so the robin couldn’t see the worms. Still, the robin found them with ease. The scientists concluded the birds are listening for their prey. There’s always more to learn about birds!

If you ever miss a BirdNote, you can always get the latest episode. Just tell your smart speaker, “Play the podcast BirdNote.”

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 21, 2022
Island Scrub-Jay
00:01:33

Only the most intrepid birders lay eyes on the striking cobalt feathers of the Island Scrub-Jay. They live exclusively on Santa Cruz Island, which is part of California’s Channel Islands National Park. The species has the smallest range of any bird in North America. The jays have few natural predators or competitors for food, letting them grow larger than their continental counterparts. But the birds’ isolation makes them susceptible to diseases such as West Nile Virus. Scientists are considering a vaccination program and possibly relocating some jays to nearby Santa Rosa Island.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 20, 2022
Helpers at the Nest
00:01:45

Brown Jays, like this juvenile, make nesting a family affair. The entire flock takes care of a single nest, which holds four eggs laid by one female in the flock. Each bird brings food to the young. And when the young first leave the nest, the helpers teach them to find food and recognize danger, skills necessary for survival into adulthood. In turn, the helpers may inherit the nesting territory when they come of age.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 19, 2022
Recreating a Princess’s Feather Skirt
00:01:45

Rick San Nicolas is a master featherworker, carrying on a tradition of making elaborate feather garments that dates back centuries in Hawai’i. He’s recreating the famous pā‘ū, or skirt, given to Hawaii’s Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena nearly 200 years ago on Maui. The original pā‘ū was made mostly from the feathers of a bird called the ʻōʻō. Now, all ʻōʻō species are extinct, due to the effects of invasive species and habitat loss. That makes the original pā'ū a remarkable sign that ʻōʻō’s were once present on Maui. Learn more on the Threatened podcast. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 18, 2022
Most Kingfishers Don't Fish
00:01:40

In North America, kingfishers fish. But in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia, most of the roughly 90 species of kingfishers don’t “fish.” They hunt in woodlands, where the smaller ones, like the four-inch Pygmy Kingfisher, eat grasshoppers and centipedes. Larger kingfishers will take frogs, reptiles, small mammals, and even snakes. This Pied Kingfisher, found in Africa and Asia, does eat fish.

Did you know that Australia’s Laughing Kookaburra is a member of the kingfisher family? It has been known to dispatch snakes up to three feet in length. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 17, 2022
Night Voices of Summer
00:01:45

At the close of a summer day, the songbirds go silent. As if on cue, the birds of the night make their voices known. In an Eastern woodland, the eerie trills and whinnies of an Eastern Screech-Owl are among the first sounds of the night. Meanwhile, as night falls west of the Rockies, a Western Screech-Owl (like this one) calls out. But there’s another bird whose voice will drown out the loudest of screech-owls: the Barred Owl! Pairs may break into a rollicking duet, sometimes called their “monkey call.”

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 16, 2022
Woodpeckers and Forest Fires
00:01:41

A forest fire roars along a mountain slope once green with spruce and pines, ignited by a lightning strike late in a Northwest summer. Once the fire has run its course, acres of blackened trunks stand silently against the blue sky. But by next summer, woodpeckers have discovered the charred forest and the feast of insects it provides. The Black-backed Woodpecker - like this female - comes closest to being a burnt-forest specialist. It will even form loose nesting colonies in recent burns.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 15, 2022
The Arctic Report Card
00:01:42

Many shorebirds breed in the Arctic tundra. It’s such an important ecosystem that every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues an Arctic Report Card that details how the region has been affected by rising global temperatures. Over the last ten years, satellite data has shown that shrubs are spreading in the north. Shorebirds that nest among low-lying tundra plants may soon find woody thickets encroaching on their breeding grounds, which could have ripple effects on shorebird populations around the world.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 14, 2022
Birds and Robots
00:01:45

One of the things airplane pilots worry about most is birds colliding with their planes, possibly causing an accident. Preventing bird strikes is a serious concern. Many airports resort to killing birds that might pose a threat. But the airport in Edmonton, Alberta, has found a more humane solution: they fly a robotic Peregrine Falcon over the grounds to scare off problem birds.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 13, 2022
Glowing Feathers
00:01:37

When a Northern Saw-whet Owl spreads its wings, many birds can see something our human eyes can’t: the owl’s flight feathers glow with ultraviolet light. It’s invisible to humans without the help of a UV blacklight. While the glowing feathers on parrots might help them attract mates, the reason for the owls’ glowing feathers still isn’t clear. However, scientists realized that they could estimate an owl’s age based on the pattern of luminescent color on the wings, which changes predictably as birds grow and replace their feathers.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 12, 2022
Do Birds Use Ants as Tools?
00:01:33

The purpose of anting remains something of a mystery, although most experts agree it has to do with transferring the ants’ secretions to the bird’s body. It’s likely that the ants’ formic acid helps the bird control feather-mites and other parasites.

An avian spa treatment!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 11, 2022
Anhingas - Snakebirds
00:01:45

In the black water of a Louisiana bayou, the water ripples where a slender form glides just beneath the surface. It appears to be a snake, but look closer at the long, narrow spike of a beak. It’s a Snakebird, a colloquial name for the Anhinga, swimming with just its head and neck above the water. An Anhinga hangs motionless in the water or swims slowly just below the surface, its neck crooked, like that of a cobra. When an unwary fish swims close, the bird’s head darts forward, impaling its prey. Then it flings it in the air and downs it headfirst!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 10, 2022
Birds as Pollinators
00:01:33

Birds are part of the complex web of Nature, and each fits into this web in its own way. Some even pollinate flowers! While feeding at a flower, this Rainbow Lorikeet gets pollen on its forehead and throat. When it visits another flower of the same species, it transfers the pollen to that flower. The pollen fertilizes the plant's eggs to produce its seeds, and the plant's reproduction is assured.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 09, 2022
A Tiny Island Full of Terns
00:01:45

The Northeast population of Roseate Terns is endangered. Each summer, roughly twenty-five hundred Roseate Terns are found on Ram Island, a 2.5-acre island off the coast of Massachusetts. In the 1960s and 70s, gull numbers surged. Gulls drove terns off of Ram Island, until biologists began chasing off the gulls to encourage terns to nest there again. Their efforts were successful: today, about one in five Roseate Terns in North America nests on the island. The site is designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA.)

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 08, 2022
Baby Bald Eagles
00:01:41

A recently fledged Bald Eagle, a juvenile just learning to fly, lands unceremoniously on the ground. The parent Bald Eagles may react by calling from a tree, or they may have to descend to the ground themselves, to tend to and encourage the young bird to take flight again. Young Bald Eagles do not reach full adult plumage until they are around four years old and may live up to 40 years.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 07, 2022
Slowing Down and Observing Female Birds
00:01:45

The colorful feathers and loud songs of male songbirds often catch a birder’s attention first. Observing females often means birding more slowly, noticing subtle differences in plumage and behavior, says Joanna Wu, who’s part of a group called the Galbatrosses that’s encouraging birders to spend more time identifying female birds. Fellow Galbatross Purbita Saha says that watching for females can help us understand birds on a deeper level by observing them as individuals rather than just species.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 06, 2022
Life on the Beach with Wilson's Plovers
00:01:45

Along the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll find undeveloped sandy flats and shallow lagoons. This is prime habitat for Wilson’s Plovers to nest and raise their chicks. But life on the beach can be tough for birds. In many parts of its U.S. range on the Gulf and south Atlantic coasts, Wilson’s Plover habitat is at risk. One practice that has helped these beach birds is to place low, temporary fencing around key nesting areas.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 05, 2022
Being an Ethical Birder
00:01:45

Birding has many benefits for your well-being. But Martha Harbison, the vice president of the Feminist Bird Club, says you should make sure your relationship with birds isn’t just about taking, but about giving back, too. You’re benefiting from the birds and the places they live, so you should do your part to care for those birds. And make sure to keep other birders in mind, too. You can hear more about how to be an ethical birder on the Bring Birds Back podcast. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 04, 2022
Summer Tanagers: Wasp Hunters
00:01:45

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 dine on the larvae within. The migratory birds will also eat other insects and spiders, as well as fruits and berries in the summer and over the winter.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 03, 2022
Where Birds Sleep
00:01:40

All birds need to sleep — or at least snooze — sometime during each 24-hour period. And most sleep at night. A bird (such as these Mallard Ducklings) may turn its head around and warm its beak under its shoulder-feathers. Songbirds find a protected perch, sheltered from rain and nighttime predators. Small forest birds often spend the night in tree cavities. Ducks sleep while floating in protected bays.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 02, 2022
Music of a Tundra Lake
00:01:35

Many of the waterbirds that winter along the coasts of the Lower 48 spend their summers breeding on tundra ponds and lakes. Loons, grebes, scoters and others call throughout the long summer days. Together, their voices create a symphony that evokes the Arctic north.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jul 01, 2022
Birds That Say Their Own Names
00:01:45

Some birds, such as the Northern Bobwhite, take their names from their songs or vocalizations: "Bobwhite! Bobwhite!" The Killdeer is another bird named for its song: "Kill-dee, kill-dee, kill-dee." There are others. "Poorwill, poorwill, poorwill" calls this Common Poorwill. This bird is the cousin of the Whip-poor-will, another bird that calls its own name.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 30, 2022
Cowbird Mafia
00:01:42

Brown-headed Cowbirds have a sneaky approach to parenthood. They lay eggs in the nests of other songbirds, and the songbird hosts often raise the cowbird chick as their own. It’s called nest parasitism. But sometimes the hosts throw out the odd-looking egg. And when that happens, the cowbirds sometimes retaliate by destroying the hosts’ other eggs. Scientists call this “mafia behavior,” likening it to organized crime groups enforcing their demands on unwilling business partners. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 29, 2022
Flyin' in the Rain
00:01:43

Most birds are mostly waterproof. Their feathers, aided by oil from preen glands, keep them pretty watertight. So why do birds avoid flying during rainstorms? It may have more to do with the air than with the water. Rainstorms tend to occur when atmospheric pressure is low. Air in a low-pressure system is less dense. But it’s dense air that gives birds the aerodynamic lift they need to take wing. Falling rain and high humidity make air even less dense. Many birds perch and wait out a storm. Afterward, birds once again take to the skies. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 28, 2022
The Bustard and the Bee-eater
00:01:45

The massive Kori Bustard struts across the savannahs of Eastern and Southern Africa. Its crested head sits on top of a long neck and stilted legs. And this winged giant has a colorful companion. A small bird called the Carmine Bee-eater perches on the bustard’s back. The Kori Bustard and the Carmine Bee-eater have a symbiotic relationship where at least one of them benefits. While the bustard searches for lizards, rodents, and other prey, it kicks up smaller insects that the bee-eater snatches up. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 27, 2022
Killdeer, Master of Distraction
00:01:32

Since Killdeer don’t always pick the safest places to lay their eggs, they’ve developed a clever way to protect their young. They use the art of distraction. When it spots a predator close by, the Kildeer parent will pretend it has a broken wing - calling loudly and limping along as it stretches out one wing and fans its tail.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 26, 2022
Spider Silk - Duct Tape for Bird Nests
00:01:45

The spider’s web is an intricate piece of precision engineering. Made from large proteins, it’s sticky, stretchy, and tough. So it’s no surprise that many small birds — including this Anna’s Hummingbird — make a point of collecting strands of spider silk to use in nest construction. Spider silk not only acts as a glue, holding the nest together, but it’s flexible enough to accommodate the growing bodies of nestlings. And it’s resilient enough to withstand the bustle of raising those hungry babies.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 25, 2022
Reckoning with Audubon's Legacy
00:01:45

John J. Audubon’s name is featured in the titles of many bird conservation groups. The Audubon Naturalist Society, or ANS, is one of the oldest, though not the largest, which is the National Audubon Society. In 2021, ANS, that smaller organization based near D.C., announced that they're retiring the Audubon name, given that Audubon enslaved people and held racist, white supremacist views about Black and Indigenous people. Caroline Brewer, who was integral to this decision, says that name changes like this are an opportunity to accept responsibility for the future and build an environmental movement that includes all people. Learn more on the Bring Birds Back podcast.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 24, 2022
An Indoor Wildlife Adventure
00:01:27

The video game Alba: A Wildlife Adventure lets you have adventures in a stunning virtual landscape while curled up at home with a cup of hot cocoa. The game puts you in the shoes of a birdwatcher and conservationist on a Mediterranean island. As you traverse the animated ecosystems, listen for the calls of over 50 birds, like the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Shoveler, and Great Cormorant. The game is available on phones, consoles, or your computer.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 23, 2022
Seasonal Flooding of the Amazon
00:01:45

When it’s predictable and wildlife is well adapted, natural flooding can create a biological bonanza. In the Amazon River Basin, which holds one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, annual rains can raise water levels 30 to 40 feet in just days. Forests turn into vast lakes, dotted with trees, while a massive push of sediment erects new islands almost overnight. It’s a lush world that’s home to some of the world’s most iconic birds, including toucans, macaws, kingfishers, tiger-herons, and this Russet-backed Oropendola.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 22, 2022
The Dickcissel
00:01:41

In grasslands of the central U.S., birds called Dickcissels sing a quirky song that “spells out” the syllables of their name. Dickcissels are approachable birds, often chirping away while a person walks nearby. But they’re also masters of concealment, hiding their nests from predators in tufts of grass and leafy wildflowers. Dickcissel populations have fallen by 30 percent since the 1960s. Yet the birds persist in searching for places to breed — nesting along roadsides, in pastures, and even in alfalfa fields.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 21, 2022
Can Crows Laugh at Me?
00:01:42

The American Crow’s rattle call is uncommon, and researchers aren’t sure what it means. It could be a gathering call, a predator alarm, or a call between mates. But if you hear it, you might think it sounds like cackling laughter. However, no one has identified a crow noise that indicates glee at the expense of another creature. It’s just a coincidence that the rattle sounds like a laugh. However, crows can play pranks on other animals: egging on cats to fight and yanking on dog tails for their own amusement. They aren’t pranking for survival — as far as we can tell, it’s just for fun.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 20, 2022
Indigo Bunting - Bird of the Ecotone
00:01:30

Many birds – like an Indigo Bunting – can be found in ecotones, the borders between two habitats. Indigo Buntings breed in the ecotone between forest and meadow. They are common at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana, where grassland and forest are interspersed to produce superb wildlife habitat.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 19, 2022
Which Species of Bird Sings First in the Morning?
00:01:42

The dawn chorus is that time when, just before sunrise, birds begin to sing. One by one, then all together, their voices join to greet the new day. But which bird sings first? The timing of when a bird joins the chorus seems to depend on how well it can see in low light. So the birds with bigger eyes -- like a Gartered Trogon -- start to sing first.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 18, 2022
Having Your Tail Scared Off
00:01:45

When a hawk is about to capture a songbird, the songbird has one last trick: a fright molt. It’s when a bird loses feathers due to sudden stress. This usually involves feathers near the tail or rump, where they’re most likely to be attacked as they flee. It can be a saving grace when the bird is about to be caught — similar to a lizard dropping its tail. There’s a downside to having your tail scared off. A tail helps the bird turn and balance in flight. But if dropping feathers lets the bird live to chirp another day, it’s worth it.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 17, 2022
Precision Flight in Flocks: How Does It Work?
00:01:40

A flock of shorebirds flying wingtip to wingtip seems to act like a single organism, rolling and twisting in exquisite patterns. Flocks like these use a combination of two organizational patterns. One is a “cluster”: lots of birds flying together in a loose, three-dimensional cloud. The second is a basic V-formation, where smaller groups of birds within the flock sync up in V-shapes, like migrating geese. Voilà! Predator avoidance and aerodynamic efficiency.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 16, 2022
How to Be a Better Wildlife Photographer
00:01:45

Conservation photographer Noppadol Paothong says that if you go out to take pictures of birds, you shouldn’t just aim to take an eye-catching photo. He spends long hours in photo blinds, often watching and studying birds rather than photographing them. He has become deeply familiar with some populations of sage-grouse, to the point that he can recognize individuals. Caring about the wildlife you photograph, particularly for rare and declining species, will make you a better photographer, he says. Noppadol strives to highlight the challenges that birds face through his photos and point toward solutions.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 15, 2022
Kestrels Love Nest Boxes
00:01:30

This American Kestrel evolved to nest in tree cavities or small caves in cliffs. We humans have made life difficult for kestrels. Development has shrunk the open spaces they need. We’ve cleared away dead trees they rely on for nests and sprayed pesticides that eliminate the insects the birds eat. But we humans are also in a position to help. Volunteers are helping to build and put up nest boxes, improve habitat, and monitor these cool little falcons. Together, we can #BringBirdsBack.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 14, 2022
Komodo Dragons and Cockatoos
00:01:45

Due to trapping for the pet trade, the talkative and showy Yellow-crested Cockatoo is now considered critically endangered. But scientists recently discovered a stronghold for the species: Komodo Island — yes, the one with the dragons. The Komodo population of Yellow-crested Cockatoos appears stable. The island has been an Indonesian national park since 1980. Park rangers may have helped deter poachers, but community support for conservation and the literal dragons have played a role, too. 

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 13, 2022
Turkey Vulture - Sky Sailor
00:01:41

Although some of the Turkey Vulture's habits may evoke our disgust, these remarkable birds also inspire our awe. With wingspans approaching six feet, Turkey Vultures ride currents of air to make their spring and fall journeys, and to cover the miles of their home range in summer. Gliding on updrafts, or pushed along by weather fronts, Turkey Vultures rarely need to flap their wings more than ten times in a row. To rise above storms, they ride upward on thermals.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 12, 2022
Fairy-Wrens Sing Secret Passwords to Unborn Chicks
00:01:45

Superb Fairy-wrens teach their embryonic chicks a secret code. This "incubation call" contains a special note that will later serve as a password. When the chicks have hatched, this password enables the adult birds to identify their babies in the darkness of their domed nest. A species of Australian cuckoo lays its eggs in the wren’s nest, hoping to pawn off the task of parenting. But wren chicks learn their mother’s song and incorporate the password note into their begging calls.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 11, 2022
Spark Bird: Meghadeepa Maity
00:01:45

Meghadeepa Maity grew up in India on the outskirts of a city that still had pockets of green space here and there, like their family’s garden. They started noticing one bird species in particular that flocked to the garden. With their sister, Meghadeepa searched the web and learned the birds were called Oriental Magpie-Robins. This species helped awaken Meghadeepa to the wider world of birds. Now birding in Massachusetts, they’ve helped create a project called The Murmuration that crowd-sources info about how to access birding spots. Contributors can share how safe they felt in a place so that other people know what to expect.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 10, 2022
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
00:01:45

The United States is home to more than 550 National Wildlife Refuges - havens for wildlife, including this Canvasback. But only one refuge can claim the distinction of being international: the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. It hosts millions of migratory ducks annually in the heart of a major metropolitan area!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 09, 2022
Tenijah’s Birding Journey Continues
00:01:45

Tenijah Hamilton, the host of the Bring Birds Back podcast, has learned a lot since she started birding at the start of the pandemic. She visited a park to show her mom how much she has grown. At first, the birds were sparse. Overcoming her frustration, Tenijah felt like nature was reminding her of lesson number one: birding is supposed to be fun. And soon their luck changed with a Northern Mockingbird flying by. What’s more, Tenijah realized that a birding trip isn’t a waste if you’re with your people. Hear more about Tenijah’s birding journey on Bring Birds Back

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 08, 2022
Have You Ever Seen a Pink Gull?
00:01:45

Some gulls and terns may show a glowing pink color, similar to that of flamingos and spoonbills. This pink color comes from pigments in the birds' food called carotenoids. These gulls and terns are able to convert these naturally occurring pigments to hues that may enhance their success at attracting a mate.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 07, 2022
Scarlet Tanagers Under the Canopy
00:01:45

In summer, the forests of the eastern United States are home to a bounty of birds, including this gorgeous Scarlet Tanager, which spends most of the year in tropical South America. The male’s body is a dazzling red, in contrast to his black wings and tail. It seems that these boldly colored birds might offer an easy target for a birdwatcher’s watchful gaze, but male Scarlet Tanagers can be hard to spot!

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 05, 2022
Bonding with Mom Through Birding
00:01:45

In this episode, environmental educator and nature enthusiast Nicole Jackson tells the story of an unexpected backyard birding experience when she visited her mom in 2021. When she arrived, Nicole saw typical birds such as robins and jays, but then saw something less common: a brightly colored Blackburnian Warbler! Nicole’s mom asked what she was looking at, and Nicole showed her pictures of all the nearby birds on her phone. Nicole helped her mom create an account on Merlin Bird ID and document her first bird sighting. 

This week is Black Birders Week. Learn how to participate in Black Birders Week here and by following #BlackBirdersWeek on social media.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 04, 2022
Bringing Birding Adventures to Broward County
00:01:45

While Sierra Taliaferro was working as a Naturalists in Broward County, Florida, in 2021, she collaborated with Broward County Library to help enhance the public’s knowledge about birding. More people became interested in birding as a safe outdoor activity during the pandemic. Sierra and others designed birding backpacks with field guides and binoculars that could be checked out at 10 libraries throughout the county. Sierra also gave a webinar crash course on how to find birds. The program was a success, with many people checking out the backpacks and creating their own birding adventures.

This week is Black Birders Week. Learn how to participate in Black Birders Week here and by following #BlackBirdersWeek on social media.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 03, 2022
Dinosaurs in the Here and Now
00:01:45

In this episode, Adé Ben-Salahuddin, an evolutionary biologist in training, reflects on how his connection with birds has changed over the years. The simple fact that birds are the only living dinosaurs left was what drew him to birds for a long time. He would share that fact with visitors on guided tours of the fossil collections at his local museum. During COVID, the museum closed for renovation, so Adé began working at a warehouse instead, surrounded by the sounds of whirring machines and beeping scanners. More recently, he has been visiting a local pond that hosts many species of birds and has developed an appreciation for them as living dinosaurs.

This week is Black Birders Week. Learn how to participate in Black Birders Week here and by following #BlackBirdersWeek on social media.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 02, 2022
Urban Birding with Deja Perkins
00:01:45

In this episode, urban ecologist Deja Perkins talks about how many bird species live right within bustling cities. Whether you’re on your porch, at your local park, or the parking lot of your favorite store, you can find birds. Deja suggests taking five minutes to focus your attention on birds. Look up in the sky, along power lines and the tops of buildings. Close your eyes and listen — past the sounds of traffic — for the songs of nearby birds. 

This week is Black Birders Week. Learn how to participate in Black Birders Week here and by following #BlackBirdersWeek on social media.

More info and transcript at BirdNote.org.

Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. 

BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.

Jun 01, 2022
Sheridan Alford on Birding and Mental Health
00:01:42

Sheridan Alford helps organize Black Birders Week, which celebrates Black people who love birds with a week of interactive events. She’s passionate about the mental health benefits of birding, especially for people who have experienced trauma. Sheridan says that sitting and journaling about what you observe can help you feel grounded. Becoming aware of the birds living around you can help you tap into their resilience in a changing world. Learn how to participate in Black Birders Week here.

May 31, 2022
Spark Bird: Dara Wilson and the Blue-gray Tanager
00:01:46

While Dara Wilson was working at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in D.C., she introduced visitors to the Amazonia exhibit. She would describe the song of a bird she’d never had the chance to see in the wild, the Blue-gray Tanager. But when Dara moved to Panama, she heard the song that she knew by heart already. Encountering the Blue-gray Tanager in its natural habitat inspired her to keep learning about birds — and to share that knowledge with others as an educator. Dara helps organize Black Birders Week. Find out how you can participate here.

May 30, 2022
The Black Heron
00:01:42

The canopy feeding method used by the Black Heron, also known as the Black Egret, is an impressive trick. It spreads its wings out like it's mimicking an umbrella and waits. Unsuspecting fish think this is shade from vegetation and a safe place to hide — and that is when the bird strikes! This pitch-black heron creates canopies in shallow open waters and seasonally flooded grasslands through Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Culturally, herons are seen as sacred messengers and symbols of prosperity and good fortune. The Black Heron is the bird chosen to represent this year’s Black Birders Week, which begins today. Learn how to participate in this year’s events here.

May 29, 2022
Celebrating Female Bird Day
00:01:41

In 2019, several co-workers at the National Audubon Society formed a team for the World Series of Birding that focused on identifying female birds. Called the Galbatrosses, they sought to highlight how female birds have been understudied and unfairly written off as quieter and less interesting. Since then, the Galbatrosses have led events about IDing female birds and held the first Female Bird Day over Memorial Day weekend in 2020. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 28, 2022
Limpkin - Bird of the Swamp
00:01:46

It's dawn on a spring day in the Big Cypress Swamp of Florida. Mist rises from quiet water into Spanish moss hanging from the cypress branches. A Limpkin is foraging for apple snails. When it touches a big, round shell, it grabs it quickly and pulls it from the water. Then, moving to solid ground, the Limpkin positions the shell, and using the curved tip of its lower mandible, it scissors loose the operculum and pulls out the snail. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 27, 2022
Ospreys and Baling Twine
00:01:46

Each year, two Ospreys known as Charlie and Charlotte nest near the Owl Research Institute in Montana. A webcam of their nest gives people an intimate glimpse into their lives. In 2021, Charlie brought some baling twine into their nest. Baling twine is a plastic string used to bind hay and straw. When brought into a nest, chicks can get fatally tangled — including as many as 10% of Osprey chicks. Fortunately, there are organizations working to protect Osprey chicks from baling twine. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 26, 2022
Night Voices - Nightjars
00:01:42

As darkness descends on a May evening, the voices of many birds go quiet. But for some birds, especially those known as nightjars, the music is just beginning! An Eastern Whip-poor-will shouts out its name. The call of a Common Poorwill echoes across a canyon. A Common Pauraque calls from the thorn scrub. A Buff-collared Nightjar repeats its Spanish nickname, Tucuchillo. And a Chuck-will’s-widow like this one calls from a woodland. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 25, 2022
Songbirds Teach Each Other Tricks
00:01:46

In the UK for years, milk came in bottles with foil caps. Great Tits, a common songbird, learned how to peck through the foil. The skill spread. But how? Researchers trained Great Tits in different ways of opening a box and re-released them. Knowledge of how to open the box spread rapidly, with most birds copying the trained bird in their group. In a follow-up study, the researchers made one method of opening the box more effective. Many birds quickly switched to the better method, suggesting the tits can stand up to peer pressure if they see there’s a better way of doing things. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 24, 2022
Singing Sandpipers
00:01:42

We've all seen sandpipers foraging busily on mudflats or at the ocean's edge. But this Lesser Yellowlegs often carols from the top of a tall conifer in its nesting territory in Alaska. The name "sandpiper" actually comes from the voices of these birds, rather than from their long-billed probing in the sand. While the name refers in particular to the birds' short "piped" -- or whistled -- calls, a number of sandpipers are surprisingly good singers. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 23, 2022
Saving Snags for Red-headed Woodpeckers
00:01:38

Red-headed Woodpeckers excavate cavities in large, dead trees called snags. Yet, over much of the Red-head's range, snags are frequently cut down as unsightly, or because they make good firewood. There are ways we can help the Red-headed Woodpecker -- and many other woodpeckers, too. The key is to leave snags intact. If you must cut down a tree on your property, consider leaving the lower trunk as a snag - a veritable condominium for wildlife!


In the meantime, consider creating a nestbox for a woodpecker. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 22, 2022
Bird Sound Types and Qualities Part III
00:01:42

When it's just too hard to see the bird you hear, let your ears take over! Listen for the qualities of the sound as well as the pattern. A flute-like and upward-spiraling sound is characteristic of this Swainson's Thrush. Quite a contrast to the plaintively whistled notes of a Black-capped Chickadee. Maybe your bird has a raspy quality to its trill, like a Willow Flycatcher, while the ratchety song of a Marsh Wren cuts its way through the dense vegetation of a cattail marsh. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 21, 2022
Ridgway's Rails on San Francisco Bay
00:01:46

Once abundant around San Francisco Bay, the Ridgway’s Rail — formerly known as the California Clapper Rail — is now endangered. In the 19th Century, unregulated hunting plundered the species. In the 20th Century, rampant development reduced salt marsh habitat by 85%. But in the 21st Century, the Ridgway’s Rail has allies. Restoration is under way to increase healthy saltmarsh habitat for these endangered birds. Also, efforts to control the number of predatory cats are improving the chances for the Ridgway’s Rail to survive. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 20, 2022
Haley Scott on Leading Bird Walks
00:01:42

Haley Scott leads bird walks with the Feminist Bird Club in New York City. And she tries to make her walks comfortable for newcomers and experienced birders alike. “We’re all in the process together, we’re all learning the birds together,” she says. She values the inclusive approach of the Feminist Bird Club and makes sure that participants, especially people from historically excluded backgrounds, feel welcome on her walks. Learn more about the Feminist Bird Club here

May 19, 2022
Phainopeplas Glisten
00:01:46

A slim, sleek bird with a spiky crest, Phainopepla comes from the Greek for “shining cloak.” The name refers to the male’s glistening, inky black feathers, which are set off by piercing red eyes. And if the Greek name isn’t helping you picture it, a common nickname might: the goth cardinal. From February to April, they nest in pairs in the arid Sonoran Desert. From May to July, they form nesting colonies in leafy oak and sycamore canyons to escape the summer heat. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 18, 2022
Bring Birds Back Season 2
00:02:06

Last year, Tenijah Hamilton discovered her love of birds – and found out that birds are in trouble. On a mission to help bring birds back, Tenijah joined bird enthusiasts from different backgrounds, identities, and communities to learn and share simple, everyday actions people can take to help the birds that bring us all joy. Follow Tenijah's journey as Bring Birds Back returns for a second season on May 18th -  she brings more tips and helpful information about what we can do to make the world a better place for birds and humans.

Subscribe to Bring Birds Back

May 17, 2022
Preening 101
00:01:29

If a bird’s feathers get too dried out, they become brittle. To prevent that from happening, most birds have a gland located above the base of the tail that produces oil. They use their beaks to massage oil from the gland into their feathers to keep them supple. A bird first grips a feather in its beak near the feather’s base. Then it slides its beak along the length of the feather toward the tip. This action smoothes together the tiny structures—called barbules—that make up the feather, while also removing dirt and small parasites. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 17, 2022
Rock Climbing Among the Peregrines
00:01:46

Eagle Cliff in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park is an important nesting site for Peregrine Falcons. Each year, popular climbing routes in the area close temporarily to give nesting falcons their space. After peregrines disappeared from the northeast due to the pesticide DDT, Eagle Cliff was the first natural rock face to host a successful peregrine nest. Now, state agencies and New Hampshire Audubon work with rock climbing groups to decide when to close cliffs in the summer.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 16, 2022
Gannets and Dolphins
00:01:42

Northern Gannets, fish-eating seabirds, dive headfirst into the ocean at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour, pursuing their prey. Sometimes, they get help. Dolphins herd fish into dense, frantic concentrations near the surface, while gannets take advantage and plunge into the shoals from aloft. Scientists call this a multispeciesfeeding association, a frequent phenomenon on the ocean’s surface. This may seem like evidence of cooperation between species, but it’s more about opportunity. Kittiwakes and gulls, as well as seals and whales, may join in, too. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 15, 2022
Morning on the Bayou
00:01:46

Cypress trees draped with Spanish moss rise from still, dark water. A Barred Owl hoots mightily as an alligator slithers by. It's morning on the bayou. Bayous are found in much of the Southeast from Arkansas to Alabama, across flat land that drains into the Mississippi River. A bayou's luxuriant wetness supports lush growth of trees and shrubs. These in turn offer secluded nesting for a broad range of birds, including the Anhinga, the Yellow-throated Warbler, and this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 14, 2022
Bird Facts Stranger Than Fiction
00:01:40

Novelist Kira Jane Buxton has written several books about a pet crow navigating a post-apocalyptic world. But her writing is full of real-world bird behaviors. She has taken inspiration from how sparrows line their nests with cigarette stubs — which can deter mites — and many other bits of animal trivia. “I maintain that anything I took liberties with, in terms of the more fantasy or fantastical elements of the novel, they're not half as exciting as what's really happening in nature,” she says. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 13, 2022
A Marsh With More Than One Purpose
00:01:46

The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary in Northwest California is an important stop along the Pacific Flyway, one of the four main routes for bird migration through North America. Visitors are sometimes surprised to learn that this wildlife sanctuary is also the city of Arcata’s wastewater treatment facility. By combining conventional wastewater treatment to natural wetlands, the city has created habitat homes and migratory resting places for over 300 species of birds, including many shorebirds.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 12, 2022
Tiniest Bird on the Continent
00:01:42

The tiniest bird in continental North America: the Calliope Hummingbird - a 3-1/4-inch jewel, weighing in at just a tenth of an ounce. These birds migrate north each spring from Western Mexico. From its perch, a male Calliope Hummingbird surveys its territory. This exquisite bird was named for the Greek muse of epic poetry, and it's the smallest long-distance avian migrant in the world. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 11, 2022
Ada Limón: The Hurting Kind
00:07:08

Poet Ada Limón often writes about birds, and her new book, The Hurting Kind, is no exception. Birds are a throughline in the book — between the seasons, from childhood to present, and knowing and unknowing. Two of her poems examine opposite sides of the “knowing/unknowing” coin. You can read many more fantastic poems, with and without birds, in Ada Limón's new book, The Hurting Kind.

May 10, 2022
BirdNoir - That Raptor’s an Impostor!
00:01:46

In this episode of BirdNoir, the Private Eye gets a call from his friend Frank, his eyes and ears in the neighborhood. He’s hearing a Red-shouldered Hawk call, but there’s no hawk in sight. Going through the lineup of usual suspects found in backyards, they examine the surprising talent for mimicry found among common birds and finally put the finger on the trickster.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 09, 2022
Wood Ducks Succeed
00:01:41

Your eye may be drawn to the gorgeous male Wood Duck, but it is the call of the modestly plumaged female you’ll hear. This call tells the male where his mate is, important as the pair stays together through much of the winter and spring. Wood Ducks are among a small number of North American waterfowl that nest in cavities, and many of them nest in boxes we provide for them. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 08, 2022
The Perfect Nestbox
00:01:46

Many native cavity-nesters - including this Black-capped Chickadee - will nest in an artificial birdhouse, or nestbox. Look for a nestbox that's plain wood. If the birdhouse comes with a perch, remove it. It just makes it easier for a predator bird to land and go after the eggs or young. Here's the important part: the entrance hole should be 1-1/8 inches. No more, no less, exactly 1-1/8 inches. That size will let native birds in, and keep non-natives out. Now hang the nestbox out of the way of predators. You can buy a nestbox - or build your own! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 07, 2022
Thick-billed Longspur
00:01:38

It can feel like there’s nowhere to hide in the shortgrass prairie. But the Thick-billed Longspur calls this place home. The bird’s burbling song helps create the high plains’ soundscape. The species was formerly named McCown’s Longspur after a Confederate general who participated in genocide against Native Americans. In 2020, after pressure from the “Bird Names for Birds” movement and others, the species was renamed for its thick bill, which is pale on females and black on breeding males.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 06, 2022
Which Bird Has the Most Feathers
00:01:46

In general, the bigger the bird, the higher the number of feathers. Someone counted the feathers on a Tundra Swan and came up with 25,216. At least 80% were on the swan’s neck. Penguins, on the other hand, have lots of small feathers all over their bodies. The largest species is the Emperor Penguin, and one project counted around 80,000 feathers on a single bird. That’s nearly sixty per square inch – keeping the penguin insulated and waterproof in harsh climates. But the most feathered creature ever? It may have been a dinosaur! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 05, 2022
The Wild Parrots of San Francisco
00:01:46

Flocks of Cherry-headed Conures, a species native to South America, are now found throughout San Francisco. While a local legend claims that a pet shop owner introduced them by burning the shop down, it’s more likely that that a few of these loud-mouths exasperated their owners until they “accidentally” left a window open. Sadly, wild Cherry-headed Conures are falling ill from rodent poison. A nonprofit, Mickaboo, adopts out healed rescues.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 04, 2022
Ponderosa Pine Savanna
00:01:40

In a Western ponderosa pine savanna, tall pines dot an open, grassy landscape. A Western Bluebird flits from a gnarly branch, as this Cassin's Finch belts out a rapid song. The trees here grow singly or in small stands. Upslope, the pines become denser, mixing with firs. Downhill, the trees give way to an open grassland. The open structure of this savanna, found on mountain slopes from the Rockies to the Cascades, results from recurring natural fires. Fast-moving blazes sweep through, burning the low vegetation but sparing the larger trees, which are protected by very thick bark. After a fire, grass and wildflowers re-grow quickly. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 03, 2022
Noppadol Paothong on Conservation Photography
00:01:46

Growing up in Thailand, Noppadol Paothong loved the outdoors, and began learning about cameras at just eight or nine years old. He came to the U.S. to study graphic design, but the woman who’s now his wife encouraged him to pursue photography instead. While working at a daily newspaper, he took his first photos of Greater Prairie-Chickens. He’s now a staff photographer for the Missouri Department of Conservation and has produced two books about species of grouse that depend on grasslands. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 02, 2022
What’s a Beak Made Of?
00:01:29

Bird beaks, or bills, come in many shapes and sizes. And birds use them for just about everything: to collect food, preen, fight, court, chop holes in trees, weave nests, and more. In order for a bird to fly, its beak must weigh as little as possible. Beaks are covered with a sheath of a tough material called keratin, which grows continuously because a beak wears down with use. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

May 01, 2022
Cactus Wren Nest Orientation
00:01:37

Cactus Wrens, which may nest several times between March and September, carefully orient their nests in tune with the season. These bulky twig structures have a side entrance that curves toward the inner chamber. When building a nest for the hot months, the wren faces the opening to receive the afternoon breeze. By contrast, a Cactus Wren building a nest in early March orients the entrance away from the cold winds of that season, keeping the chicks snug and warm. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 30, 2022
Joyce Clement: Birds Punctuate the Days
00:04:19

Poet Joyce Clement writes haiku, a traditional Japanese form. While it's often thought of as having three lines with 5-7-5 syllables, Joyce says that the key elements of any haiku are a fragment and a phrase spoken in a single breath. In this sequence of haiku, Joyce juxtaposes punctuation marks with images of birds, drawing on their similar appearances, as well as meaning. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 29, 2022
Birds Dress for Spring
00:01:46

It's spring! And for many birds, a time to look their best to attract a new mate. This American Goldfinch has recently molted. Its old, worn-down feathers have fallen out, and new ones have grown in. When goldfinches molt in the fall, they lose these brightly colored feathers. Their winter camouflage helps them blend in with the drab background of the season. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 28, 2022
Puffin Bills Glow
00:01:35

Puffins are known for their flashy bills, striped like a giant piece of candy-corn. New research has found that the bills of Atlantic Puffins glow brightly under ultraviolet blacklights. Neon, curved streaks appeared between the different colored segments of a puffin’s bill in this lighting. It’s possible that the UV highlights help the birds further stand out to potential mates. For the experiment, researchers made special puffin sunglasses to protect the birds’ eyes. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 27, 2022
Making a Home Among the Saguaros
00:01:46

In the arid Arizona desert, where cacti thrive but trees are scarce, the Gila Woodpecker and Gilded Flicker carve out nest cavities in living saguaros. Tall, old saguaros may be pocked with twenty or more nest holes, bearing witness to decades of woodpecker families. The woodpeckers excavate a new nest every year, leaving the old, now-empty cavities behind. But they don't stay empty for long. Elf Owls, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, Purple Martins, and Brown-crested Flycatchers all find the slightly used woodpecker cavities superb nest sites. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 26, 2022
Sooty Grouse are Hooting
00:01:36

In spring, a male Sooty Grouse calls from a concealed perch high in a tall conifer. Known as “hooting,” it’s a very low-pitched, five or six-note thunking sound. When a female cackles in response, the male flies down and displays to her by strutting and fanning his tail. Females are camouflaged in shades of gray and brown. One of the best times to see a Sooty Grouse is mid-summer, when the female escorts her chicks to the edge of a trail or roadside to search for food. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 25, 2022
Seabirds Drink Salt Water
00:01:46

Seabirds have no problem drinking sea water. The salt they take in is absorbed and moves through their blood stream into a pair of salt glands above their eyes. The densely salty fluid is excreted from the nostrils and runs down grooves in the bill. As the drop gets larger, the bird shakes its head to send the salt back to the ocean. A seabird's skull has a pair of grooves for the salt glands right over the eyes.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 24, 2022
Sharp-tailed Grouse on a Lek
00:01:43

During spring at Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota, male Sharp-tailed Grouse  - like the one pictured here - perform their elaborate mating dances on a matted patch of ground called a lek. They stomp their feet, extend their wings, and zip around the lek. Then, in an instant, they stop – stock-still. All this to impress the female grouse observing from the sidelines! This wondrous, strange display is rare. Throughout the world, very few species of birds, perhaps fewer than 100, use leks when breeding.   Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 23, 2022
A Small Park That Has What Birds Need
00:01:46

Washington Square Park in Manhattan is just 10 acres. But Georgia Silvera Seamans, who leads wildlife surveys there, says there’s a spot that draws in many birds because of its well-developed forest canopy. Georgia is the director of an organization called Washington Square Park Eco Projects that provides environmental education and advocates for the ecological value of the park. She collects stories from city dwellers about their experiences with birds on her podcast, Your Bird Story.

Apr 22, 2022
An Enormous Eagle Evolves
00:01:38

Evolution on islands can produce unusually large species. Haast’s Eagle lived on the islands now known as New Zealand. With a wingspan of 9 feet and weighing up to 30 pounds, the eagle hunted the moa — a flightless bird that stood over ten feet tall. The eagles probably vanished not long after their moa prey went extinct, about 500 to 600 years ago. A site called the Cave of the Eagle contains Maori paintings of Haast’s Eagles, preserving the legacy of this immense raptor. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 21, 2022
Surviving Hail Storms
00:01:46

As it began to hail, Marlon Inniss saw several Canada Geese doing something odd. Rather than trying to shield their heads, the geese pointed their bills skyward, directly into the path of the hail. The geese were pointing the smallest surface area of their sensitive bills, the narrow tip, into the hail — minimizing the impact. Inniss’s video of the behavior helped reaffirm an observation made by naturalist Aldo Leopold one hundred years before of Northern Pintails adopting the same stance. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 20, 2022
A Cardinal That's Half Male, Half Female
00:01:42

In Texas, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, people have reported seeing Northern Cardinals that are red on one side and brown on the other, indicating that a bird is half male and half female. This anomaly occurs in other species of birds, as well, not just cardinals. Insects, too! Scientists call these bilateral gynandromorphs. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 19, 2022
BirdNoir: The Wild Tom Turkey
00:01:46

In this episode of BirdNoir, the private eye gets a call from H. Jon Benjamin about unusual Wild Turkey behavior. A male turkey (known as a “tom”) won’t leave his car alone. He keeps tapping his beak on the car. Then the turkey starts circling the house and looking in all the windows. The private eye reveals how things look from the turkey’s perspective, which points the way to a possible solution. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 18, 2022
Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes
00:01:42

In Canada, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. It's a "place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can see pristine ecosystems, 5,000 bison, 150-pound wolves, and the largest freshwater delta in North America.” When summer ends and the juvenile cranes are able to fly, they migrate 2,700 miles to their wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 17, 2022
Nocturnal Migration of Songbirds
00:01:46

If this week's bright full moon pulls you outside, pause for a moment and listen. You might hear migrating songbirds overhead. Most songbirds migrate at night, when fewer predators are out. The migrants stop, feed, and rest during the day. However, many scientists believe that the main reason songbirds migrate at night is that the stars help orient them on their journey. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 16, 2022
Audio Postcard from the Kyiv Zoo
00:01:46

Today, we’re sharing a glimpse of what it was like in mid-March at the bird exhibits in the Kyiv Zoo. Workers at the zoo stayed to take care of the animals during the Russian invasion. They worked long days, doing what it took to keep a zoo running: cleaning stalls and preparing food. They returned to bomb shelters to sleep at night. Julia Vakulenko of the Kyiv Zoo shared recordings of her coworkers caring for the zoo’s birds. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 15, 2022
How Cliff Swallows Build a Nest
00:01:39

When Cliff Swallows arrive on the breeding grounds in North America, the dirty work begins. The swallows scoop up mud in their beaks and carefully build a gourd-shaped nest with a tapered opening. They add a lining of dry grass to keep eggs warm. It takes days of work and a thousand mouthfuls of mud to finish a single nest—and it’s just one part of a large colony. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 15, 2022
Rachel Carson and Silent Spring
00:01:46

Among the most welcome features of spring is the renewal of bird song. Can you imagine a spring without the voices of birds? The silence would -- as they say -- be deafening, the absence of their songs like the loss of one of our primary senses. Rachel Carson's 1962 book, Silent Spring, helped found the modern environmental movement. When you hear the birds (like this Spotted Towhee or its cousin, the Eastern Towhee) sing this spring, remember Rachel Carson, and be grateful. You can learn more at RachelCarson.org.

Apr 14, 2022
Donika Kelly and the Bowerbird
00:04:23

A number of years ago, poet Donika Kelly was trying to figure out how to date, when she saw a nature documentary about a bowerbird. Male Satin Bowerbirds will gather all the blue items they can find, build a beautiful structure called a bower, and do a dance to try to woo the females. Donika found herself wishing that human courtship had such a clear structure, and wrote a series of poems inspired by the bowerbird. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 13, 2022
Kinglet Fireworks
00:01:46

Most of the time, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet is neither ruby nor regal. A tiny songbird washed in faded olive-green, the male shows a hint of crimson atop of his head — hardly a ruby crown. But don’t forsake the kinglet for flashier birds. When courting a female or dueling with another male, the kinglet exposes those ruby feathers, and his crown glows with the feathery fireworks that give the bird its name. Now is the time to look for kinglets, as they migrate north across much of the continent toward breeding sites in remote evergreen woods. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 12, 2022
Planting Oaks for Birds
00:01:41

Oak trees are an important resource for birds finding insects to feed their young. It takes thousands of caterpillars from an oak tree to raise a single nest of baby birds. By planting an oak species native to your area, you can help ensure that birds are able to raise their young successfully.

Homegrown National Park® is a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate diversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 11, 2022
Burrowing Belted Kingfisher
00:01:46

The Belted Kingfisher dashes through the air, warning intruders with its rapid-fire, rattling call. In spring, the best places to see Belted Kingfishers are along sandy banks -- they are busy digging burrows, where they will nest. The holes typically reach three to six feet into the bank, but some nesting holes can extend fifteen feet. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 10, 2022
You Could Take a Pigeon to the Movies
00:01:46

A movie runs at 24 frames per second, just right for humans to sense as normal speed. Pigeons process the visual world several times faster. The frantic car chase that puts us at the edge of our seats would likely appear—to a pigeon—more like a slideshow or PowerPoint. A bird’s rapid-fire perception is vital to its staying alive, whether it’s hunting fast-moving prey or eluding speedy predators. From the pigeon’s perspective, humans live in the slow lane. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 09, 2022
I Dream of Grosbeaks
00:01:46

Science educator Chidi Paige was working hard preparing her students for the World Series of Birding. Chidi’s students were studying with the goal of identifying the most birds in the kid’s competition. And then something happened that made Chidi wonder if they were thinking about birds a little too much: one of the students began seeing a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in her dreams. The dream ended up having unexpected relevance in the competition. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 08, 2022
Unlikely Places to Go Birding
00:01:42

Birding is often best in the least likely places. At sewage treatment plants, watch for ducks and gulls - and raptors keeping watch over them all. Another place might be your local landfill or dump. The Brownsville, Texas dump was, for years, the only place in the US you could find this Tamaulipas Crow. For a more sedate birding adventure, visit a cemetery. Especially in rural areas and in the Midwest, cemeteries are often repositories of native plants, and thus magnets for migratory birds, which find food - and cover - in those green oases. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 07, 2022
The Cool, Rugged Life of a Snow Bunting
00:01:41

The Arctic is still wintry when male Snow Buntings return to nesting areas in April. There's a big benefit to arriving early enough to claim a prime nest cavity in a rock face or under boulders, where it will be safer from predators. Nesting in chilly rock cavities means extra care must be taken to keep eggs and nestlings warm. That’s why, unlike many other bird species, female Snow Buntings never come off the nest. The males bring them food, giving them more continuous time on the eggs. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 06, 2022
Ada Limón and the Birds of Kentucky
00:07:51

When poet Ada Limón moved to Kentucky with her husband for his work, she was having trouble adjusting to her new home. To connect with the place, she began learning about the local birds and plants. She found comfort in the idea of the nearly omnipresent state bird, the Northern Cardinal. That inspired a poem in which the state bird becomes a metaphor for love. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 05, 2022
Adopt a Tree to Save the Birds
00:01:46

Many birds depend on caterpillars often found on trees lining city sidewalks. But few insects spend their whole lives on the tree: the next stage is in the leaves and soil under the tree. In cities, that habitat is often compacted and leafless. By adopting a tree and creating a “soft landing” for caterpillars, anyone can help keep birds supplied with the insects they need to survive.

Homegrown National Park® is a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate diversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 04, 2022
Walk Down an Arroyo
00:01:39

Arroyo means "stream" in Spanish. With mesquite, yucca, and cactus along their edges, arroyos in the Southwest fill with water only a few times a year, mostly during the heavy rains of late summer. There's a remarkable diversity of wildlife here, including this Pyrrhuloxia. Birds here are most active in the morning, except those that are nighttime specialists. The sounds of life in an arroyo are magical, day and night. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 03, 2022
Hovering with Horned Larks
00:01:42

Horned Larks rival meadowlarks as the most colorful birds of North American grasslands. They live in prairies, fields, and tundra, but agriculture and development now intrude on many of the Horned Lark's traditional nesting areas. The farmland Conservation Reserve Program encourages agricultural landowners to plant resource-conserving vegetation. This practice protects topsoil and provides habitat for birds like the Horned Lark, as well as other wildlife. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 02, 2022
Bird...NOT! with H. Jon Benjamin
00:02:27

During the COVID-19 pandemic, actor H. Jon Benjamin began sharing his experiences with birds in his “Morning Bird Report” videos on social media. For April Fools Day, BirdNote has invited him to test out his birding-by-sound skills on a one-of-a-kind quiz show: Bird…NOT! Jon has to guess whether the sound is a bird or not — which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Apr 01, 2022
Those Raucous Jays
00:01:46

A raucous call and a bold flash of blue at your feeder means a jay has arrived. East of the Rockies, your visitor is quite likely a Blue Jay (left). Out west, you're probably seeing a Steller's Jay. These daring blue dandies sound the alarm, announcing the approach of a predator. Often the loud call sends the predator packing. If not, a family of jays may gang up and mob the intruder. And, if that doesn't work, the jay may mimic the call of a Bald Eagle or Red-tailed Hawk -- birds at the very top of the pecking order -- to dissuade the invader. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 31, 2022
Listening From Inside the Egg
00:01:35

Shorebird chicks hatch into a dangerous world, so they need to be vigilant from the start. Researchers in Australia noticed that some shorebird chicks began chirping in their final days in the egg. The chirps fell silent when the researchers played recordings of a Little Raven, which hunts for young birds. The finding suggests the chicks are listening carefully and may be able to tell threatening sounds from non-threatening ones. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 30, 2022
Montezuma Oropendola - The Golden Pendulum
00:01:46

In a clearing where an ancient Mayan city once stood, the Montezuma Oropendola perches and sings. His courtship display is astonishing: he swings by his feet and sings, his tail describing a golden pendulum - the very source of his name in Spanish - oropendola. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 29, 2022
Beautiful and Beneficial Gardening for Birds
00:01:42

Buying enough birdseed to keep all your backyard birds satisfied can run up a big bill. Homegrown National Park® co-founder Douglas Tallamy says that growing native plants in your garden can provide a balanced diet for birds. While there’s a misconception that native plants lead to a messy garden, Tallamy explains that native wildflowers, shrubs and trees can provide both splashes of color and nutritious meals for birds.

Homegrown National Park® is a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate diversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 28, 2022
Eagles Rebuild
00:01:46

Bald Eagles build large stick nests in tall trees. These nests endure rough treatment. Rambunctious chicks pull sticks out and flap madly, holding on with their feet, before they fledge. Wind buffets the nest year round. But eagles reuse their nests year after year. Adult eagles break off dead limbs and carry them back to their nests. Bald Eagles have been known to carry sticks more than a mile to their nest. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 27, 2022
Thirsty Hummingbirds
00:01:41

Here they come! Rufous Hummingbirds, Black-chins, Broad-bills, Ruby-throats like this one, and others are migrating north after a hot, dry winter in sunny Mexico or Central America. And they’re ready for a drink. You can help these thirsty birds by hanging a hummingbird feeder filled with the right kind of nectar. Select a feeder that you can easily clean on the inside, and one that has plenty of red to attract the birds. Then fill it with sugar water made by dissolving one part sugar in four parts water (use plain table sugar — no honey or sugar substitutes allowed). And please — no red food coloring! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 26, 2022
Singing with Fox Sparrows
00:01:38

A modest thicket of trees along a street can be the perfect place to hear one of the earliest bird songs of spring: the Fox Sparrow. You can hear their loud, spirited songs from dense vegetation throughout much of the U.S. The easternmost birds have the rufous color of a Red Fox. Others found further west are a mix of brown, rust and gray. The stocky sparrow reveals itself by vigorously kicking the leaf litter with both feet. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 25, 2022
Rivers of Birds
00:01:39

One of the world champions of long-distance migration is the Arctic Tern. Arctic Terns nest across the far northern reaches of the continent during our summer, then fly south to Antarctica for the rest of the year. Some will circle the polar ice-pack before heading north again, completing a total round trip of more than 50,000 miles. Every year. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 24, 2022
The Brown Thrasher's Never-Ending Songbook
00:01:46

The Northern Mockingbird isn’t the only mimic bird in town. Brown Thrashers also learn songs from nearby birds and add them to their repertoire. The species has been documented singing over eleven hundred different songs: a mix of imitations and invented little melodies. While mockingbirds usually repeat a song or phrase three or more times before moving on, Brown Thrashers tend to repeat a phrase only twice. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 23, 2022
Dawn Song - Emily Dickinson
00:01:43

Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock..." As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song. Early in the morning, sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, finches, wrens, blackbirds, and warblers - like this Yellow Warbler - all sing at once. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 22, 2022
Creating Bird Habitat at Home
00:01:44

One of the biggest threats to birds is the decline in biodiversity due to habitat loss — and the traditional, manicured lawn isn’t helping. Growing native plants in your yard allows you to protect birds at home, says ecologist Douglas Tallamy, who co-founded an organization called Homegrown National Park® to help people transform their lawns into havens for wildlife.

Homegrown National Park® is a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate diversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 21, 2022
Celebrating the Vernal Equinox
00:01:46

The vernal equinox, the first day of spring. The moment when the sun is directly above the equator, and day and night are nearly equal all over the world. Yet birds sense the growing hours of daylight through a surge of hormones. It’s time to sing! Both science and folklore tie spring to the renewal of nature, as the world awakens from the long cold winter. Listen carefully, and you might hear the bubbling song of a tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglet, or a Bewick’s Wren tuning up, or a towhee — like this beautiful Eastern Towhee — shouting out its whistled notes. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 20, 2022
Australia's Rainforest Birds
00:01:36

The rainforests of Eastern and Northeastern Australia harbor many species of birds found almost nowhere else. This Eastern Whipbird — which is more often heard than seen — hangs out in the dense understory. Easier to lay eyes on is the large, pigeon-like Wompoo Fruit-Dove. Feathered in a stunning combination of green, purple, and yellow, this bird is clearly named for its voice. And a pig-like grunting on the forest floor tells us we’re in the company of the Southern Cassowary. Its helmet — called a casque — makes it look as much like a dinosaur as any living bird. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 19, 2022
Female Condors Have Offspring Without Males
00:01:46

A captive breeding program has helped set California Condors on the path to recovery. But when biologists reviewed the family tree for the breeding program, they found a big surprise. Two chicks had DNA that linked them perfectly to their mothers but didn’t match a single male. They arose through parthenogenesis, developing from unfertilized eggs without sperm from a male. These condors are the first case of parthenogenesis in a wild bird species where the females had access to fertile males. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 18, 2022
Birds Talk, People Squawk
00:01:39

Darvin Gebhart is a champion goose-caller. But there are also birds that use human language. Sparkie Williams was a famous parakeet, or budgerigar, that lived in England in the 1950s. He recorded commercials for bird seed and released his own hit single "Pretty Talk." Alex, the African Grey Parrot, was another notable talking bird, with amazing cognitive abilities.  Watch a video interview with Sparkie Williams and learn more about him at the British-Library.UK. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 17, 2022
T and Dart
00:01:41

Author Kira Jane Buxton loves crows — so much that she’s written two novels about a crow named S.T. navigating the extinction of humanity. When she was writing those books, she tried befriending the crows in her neighborhood, and wound up bonding with a pair of them. She named them T and Dart. T, the female, is clumsy and playful. Dart, her mate, is more aloof towards Kira but always shares his food with T. This crow couple helped inspire the fictional crows in Kira’s books. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 16, 2022
Black-necked Stilt - The Bird with Outrageous Legs
00:01:46

Visit a shallow wetland in summer, and you might see this slender, black-and-white shorebird with outrageous red legs. The Black-necked Stilt uses its long legs for wading as it feeds on tiny insects and crustaceans on the surface of the water. Stilts are sensitive to drought, which has increased with global climate change. But they readily move to new breeding areas and respond quickly when new wetlands are created.  Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 15, 2022
BirdNoir: Vultures Come to Town
00:01:46

On this episode of BirdNoir, the Mayor of Bricksville calls the Private Eye with a bit of a problem: “several dozen giant bird-punks loitering on top of City Hall!” The detective figures out the most likely reason why these birds have chosen the top of a building as their hangout, and reveals a side of the story that the mayor hadn’t considered before. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 14, 2022
Sound Escapes - Learning to Be a Deep Listener
00:01:46

Gordon Hempton is a sound recordist who has spent his life capturing the sounds of the natural world. He’s learned to be a deep listener, kind of like a sonic meditator. And after a lifetime of traveling the world and listening and recording, he still is amazed by what he hears. Find the whole thing at BirdNote.org/SoundEscapes.

Mar 13, 2022
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: Little Bird with a Big Story
00:01:43

The slim, 4½-inch Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is found over much of the East and Midwest and in parts of the West, too. It actively searches trees and bushes for small bugs to eat, often hovering briefly and flaring a long black-and-white tail. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 12, 2022
Danielle Whittaker and the Mystery of Bird Scent
00:01:34

When biologist Danielle Whittaker started studying bird odors, some scientists tried to discourage her, claiming that birds can’t smell. But that only deepened her curiosity. Once, she caught a whiff of a cowbird, which smelled to her like sugar cookies. Danielle and her colleagues studied Dark-eyed Juncos and found that they produce many odors that help influence breeding behavior. Learn more in Danielle Whittaker’s new book, The Secret Perfume of Birds: Uncovering the Science of Avian Scent.

Mar 11, 2022
Identify Bird Sounds on Your Phone
00:01:46

An online tool called BirdNET uses artificial intelligence to identify bird songs and calls. And Cornell’s well-known Merlin Bird ID app now has sound ID, too. It’s as simple as opening the app, choosing “Sound ID,” and hitting record. It can pick out multiple species in the same recording. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 10, 2022
Geese Aloft: Flock Voices of March
00:01:32

Geese migrate north between February and April, making stopovers along the way to rest and eat. Most are bound for their breeding grounds in the far north. But we’ll hear them again soon, on their way back south in October. Click play and learn how to tell some North American species apart by sound! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 09, 2022
Games Make Bird ID Fun
00:01:42

When science educator Chidi Page began teaching her students how to identify birds, she wanted a way to engage kids and help them learn quickly. Unable to find one for sale, Chidi decided to make her own game. Similar to the game “Guess Who,” players ask questions about what the game’s characters look like, such as “Does your bird have a crest?” or “Does it have an eye ring?” Chidi named the game “Which Is It,” a phrase that sounded like an inquisitive bird call. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 08, 2022
Why a Gorget Glitters
00:01:46

A hummingbird's brilliant throat feathers are called a "gorget," a term applied in past centuries to the metallic swatch protecting the throat of a knight-in-armor. Light waves reflect and refract off the throat feathers, creating color in the manner of sun glinting off a film of oil on water. The gorget of this Rufous Hummingbird is stunning! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 07, 2022
Florida Scrub-Jay
00:01:43

Thousands of years ago, rising sea levels isolated much of the Florida peninsula as an island. During that long isolation, a unique oak-scrub ecosystem developed. The Florida Scrub-Jay is one of many special animals and plants that evolved with this habitat. Because they depend on acorns during winter, Florida Scrub-Jays can survive only in oak scrub. Populations have declined because the birds have lost much of their special habitat to citrus groves, pastures, and development. Happily, many birds are now protected by the Archbold Biological Station and other preserves. But there's still more to be done! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 06, 2022
House Finches - Red and Yellow
00:01:46

House Finches eat many kinds of seeds and fruits. A careful look at male House Finches at a feeder shows that, while most males show red feathering, some are decidedly more orange - and some even yellow. House Finches acquire their coloration from pigments known as carotenoids in the foods they eat. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 05, 2022
The Royal Pigeons
00:01:43

Despite their modern reputation, pigeons were once beloved by royalty. Akbar the Great, ruler of the Mughal Empire in the 16th Century, kept over 20,000 pigeons. Owning pigeons in parts of Europe was a privilege restricted to the nobility. Pigeon ownership became a flashpoint during the French Revolution, when commoners finally gained the right to raise pigeons. Learn more in Rosemary Mosco’s new book, A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 04, 2022
Great Tinamou, Eerie Voice in the Jungle
00:01:42

The eerie sound of the Great Tinamou can be heard in the lowland jungle throughout much of Central and South America. Secretive — and almost impossible to see — Great Tinamous call early and late in the day. And their voices carry a long distance. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 03, 2022
The Warbler That Loves Pines
00:01:46

The Pine Warbler is one of the few warblers that make appearances at bird feeders. They live year round in pine forests of the southeast U.S. and several Caribbean islands. Early spring is a good time to see them migrating through cities in the Midwest and the East Coast. If there’s a pine or two nearby, look for them picking through pine needles for food. Their song, heard throughout the year, is a sweet-sounding trill. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 02, 2022
The Great Horned Owl Nest
00:01:41

When Great Horned Owl eggs hatch, the downy owlets are the size of newborn chickens. Their mother broods them day and night. A few weeks later, the owlets can be left alone while both adults resume hunting at twilight. Great Horned Owl young remain in the nest for about six weeks, then climb out onto nearby branches. They begin taking short flights at seven weeks, and can fly well at 9-10 weeks. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Mar 01, 2022
White-tailed Hawks on the Texas Coastal Plain
00:01:42

The White-tailed Hawk thrives in the grassy plains of the Texas Coastal Plain, where many tropical species reach the northern limit of their ranges. White-tailed Hawks often hunt by kiting: hovering like a kite in the breeze with the wings held in a “V” above the body, dropping suddenly on their prey. When a grass fire breaks out, they hunt small animals fleeing from the fire’s edge. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 28, 2022
Nest Cavities - Book Early
00:01:46

Tree Swallows and bluebirds — like this Western Bluebird — are among the earliest northbound migrants to arrive, heralding spring a month before the equinox. These species will nest only in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or man-made nestboxes. But the supply of specialized nest sites is limited, and competition is intense. By arriving early, these swallows and bluebirds improve their chances of securing unoccupied cavities. To learn more about building nestboxes, visit BirdNote.org.

Feb 27, 2022
Leaping with Sandhill Cranes
00:01:43

With a graceful leap, wings outstretched, Sandhill Cranes welcome the longer days. The stately cranes are courting, renewing an annual dance they perform in earnest as the days lengthen into spring. Sandhill Crane pairs remain together for life, and their spirited dance plays an essential role in reaffirming this bond. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 26, 2022
The Nasally Fish Crow
00:01:46

The harsh caws of American Crows are one of the most familiar bird calls in North America. Fish Crows sometimes join flocks of American Crows as they forage for food. The two crow species look similar, but have a distinct call that sounds a bit like an American Crow with a stuffy nose. The Fish Crow is found in much of the eastern U.S. and is spreading to new areas north and west to breed. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 25, 2022
Spark Bird: Rodney Stotts on Bringing Eagles Back to DC
00:01:46

Rodney Stotts is a master falconer who teaches people of all ages about raptors. In the 1990s, he helped reintroduce eagles to the Anacostia River, which runs through Washington, DC. As part of the Earth Conservation Corps, Rodney helped take care of eagle chicks sent from Wisconsin, where the species was more plentiful. Now, Bald Eagles consistently nest along the river, meaning that people living nearby can enjoy them. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 24, 2022
Flying with Birds and Bats
00:01:37

Bats and birds have evolved very different ways of flying. Birds have stiff feathers projecting from lightweight, fused arm and hand bones; bats have flexible wings of membranes stretched between elongated fingers. While birds use the strong downstroke of their wings to fly, bats support their weight on the upstroke, too, by twisting their wings backward. Bats tend to be more agile in flight, while many birds can fly with greater speed. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 23, 2022
Flocking and Foraging
00:01:46

In winter, a foraging flock might include several species of birds: chickadees, kinglets, and even a Downy Woodpecker. Many bird species eat alone, so you might wonder why these birds have chosen to dine together. Different species foraging in a group to find food enhances the success of all. One species assists the foraging of others. It's known as "commensal feeding." And more eyes and ears help protect the flock, too. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 22, 2022
Meet the Robo-Penguin
00:01:39

Gentoo Penguins are the fastest penguins in the world. A group of researchers used the penguin’s streamlined shape to design a new undersea robot called the Quadroin. This robo-penguin has sensors to measure ocean conditions and currents. It’s particularly suited to studying eddies, which are smaller and short-lived than major ocean currents but help draw nutrients to the ocean surface, supporting the marine food web. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 21, 2022
Falcons, Parrots, The Tree of Life
00:01:42

Scientists have puzzled for centuries over how different groups of birds are related. Did birds that look physically alike, such as falcons and hawks, arise from a common ancestor, or did they reach those similarities independently? This line of inquiry was given an immense boost in recent years when an international research team unraveled the genetic codes of 48 species of birds. The results are emerging, including a revised evolutionary tree for birds that places falcons such as this American Kestrel — and parrots such as this Rainbow Lorikeet — on adjoining branches. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 20, 2022
Jacana - Lily-trotter
00:01:46

The strange wading birds known as jacanas are nick-named "lily-trotters" for their ability to walk on lilypads. In Jamaica, they're known as "Jesus birds," because they appear to be walking on water — a feat made possible by their long toes. But that's not all that's cool about jacanas. The males, including the Comb-crested Jacana pictured here, can carry their young under their wings. Picture this colorful wading bird, crouching down and spreading his wings. The young scoot in under him, and he sweeps them up and carries them off, tiny legs dangling from under his wings. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 19, 2022
Finding Food When it Snows
00:01:35

Fresh-fallen snow is beautiful, but it poses a challenge to birds. The ground where they found food is now covered by several inches of snow. Birds such as juncos and other sparrows flit under bushes where snow doesn’t cover the ground. Finches and chickadees pick at the seed heads of plants sticking out above the snow, while robins (like this American Robin) seek out dried fruits. Nuthatches and woodpeckers cling to trees as they search for insects within the bark. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 18, 2022
Sandgrouse - Desert Water-carriers
00:01:39

Sandgrouse live in some of the most parched environments on earth. To satisfy the thirst of their chicks, male sandgrouse carry water back to the nest in a surprising but effective way: by carrying it in their feathers. Thanks to coiled hairlike extensions on the feathers of the underparts, a sandgrouse such as this Burchell's Sandgrouse can soak up and transport about two tablespoons of liquid. The sandgrouse chicks use their bills like tiny squeegees, “milking” their father’s belly feathers for the water they need. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 17, 2022
Trumpeter Swans Rebound in Arkansas
00:01:46

Trumpeter Swans weigh over 25 pounds and measure about five feet from beak to tail. They were nearly hunted to extinction by the turn of the twentieth century. In Arkansas, a small flock of Trumpeter Swans began spending the winter at Magness Lake in the 1990s. It has now grown to one of the biggest winter swan flocks in the Southeast. In recognition of its value to the swans, Magness Lake has been designated an Important Bird Area. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 16, 2022
Dining with Sanderlings
00:01:44

While many shorebirds have gone south, tiny sandpipers called Sanderlings are easy to find on winter shores. They follow the waves as they lap in and out, probing the swirling sand for prey. They often eat various small crustaceans such as mole crabs, isopods, and amphipods. But they also enjoy miniature clams, polychaete worms, and horseshoe crab eggs. They’ll even catch flying insects or eat plant matter. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 15, 2022
Raven's Love Song
00:01:46

Ravens are seen as tricksters in many traditions. But Common Ravens have a softer side. During courtship, a pair will often sit side by side, sometimes preening each other's feathers. And during that ritual, one or both may make soft warbling sounds. Raven nestlings sometimes make this same sound after they've been fed. Compared to the usual raucous raven calls, this one is soothing. It's called a comfort sound. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 14, 2022
Franklin's Gull - The Half-time Seagull
00:01:43

Gulls are often called "seagulls," but many spend a lot of time far away from the sea. The Franklin's Gull breeds in freshwater wetlands more than 5,000 miles from its winter home at the ocean. After the breeding season, they ascend high in the sky for their long flight across the Equator to the coasts of Peru and Chile. Now deserving the name "seagull," the Franklin's Gulls roost on the beach and dive for anchovies in the cold Humboldt Current. Habitats of the world are connected by the birds that go between them. Learn more at StateOfTheBirds.org.

Feb 13, 2022
Birders and Hunters
00:01:41

Thanks in part to the political will and financial contributions of waterfowl hunters and such organizations as Ducks Unlimited, natural wetlands that might otherwise have been lost have been preserved. Take a field trip with your local Audubon chapter to see what you can see. Maybe you'll see one of these Blue-winged Teal. You can learn more about duck stamps and how they help protect habitat for migratory waterfowl at Ducks.org.

Feb 12, 2022
Hovering Is Hard Work
00:01:46

Hummingbirds are built for hovering flight, with flexible wrists that rotate their wings in a rapid figure-eight motion that generates almost constant lift. Eurasian Skylarks, on the other hand, hovers by fluttering its wings 10-12 times per second, singing all the while. Some raptors such as American Kestrels use a different strategy: by flying into the wind, they can float in place while they scan for prey. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 11, 2022
Bird Tracks in the Snow
00:01:31

Look for the stories birds tell with their tracks in the snow. A crow swaggers, leaving right-and-left steps much as a walking human would. Juncos under a birdfeeder leave a hopping pattern of tiny footprints in side-by-side pairs. Look for beak marks, where a bird picked up a choice morsel or probed the ground. Tell-tale signs sometimes tell stories of life and death. You might see mouse tracks end suddenly, just where you find the imprint of an owl's wings. Find out more about animal tracking at the Wilderness Awareness School. And learn more in Bird Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species, a book by Mark Elbroch.

Feb 10, 2022
Storm-Petrels: Myth and Reality
00:01:43

Sailors once believed Wilson’s Storm-Petrels foretold a dangerous tempest. There might be a grain of truth: the tiny seabirds might find a little shelter from the gusts near a ship. Wilson’s Storm-Petrels are found in every ocean. When foraging, their feet patter across the surface, stirring up prey. Their fondness for feeding in cold, salty water could make them an indicator for changes in ocean conditions due to climate change. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 09, 2022
When Does a Crossbill's Bill Cross?
00:01:46

A young crossbill starts life with a wedge-shaped beak. As it grows up and starts to feed itself by removing conifer seeds from their tough packaging, the tips of its bill begin to grow rapidly — and then they cross. By the time the bird is a month and a half old, the tips of its bill become fully crossed. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 08, 2022
Non-Vocalization: Many Ways to Make Noise
00:01:46

Many birds have creative ways to make noise without using their voices. Ruffed Grouse use their wings to make echoing booms. Wilson’s Snipes make a high-pitched sound called winnowing as air passes across their tail feathers. Palm Cockatoos swing a stick against a tree to tap out a beat.

This show was produced by World According to Sound. BirdNote and World According to Sound are teaming up for an immersive, 70-minute, virtual event about the sounds of birds. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 07, 2022
Anna's Hummingbirds Winter in the North
00:01:46

Most hummingbirds retreat south in autumn, but Anna's Hummingbirds are found in northern latitudes throughout the year. Since 1960, they've moved their year-round limit north from California to British Columbia. They're taking advantage of flowering plants and shrubs, as well as hummingbird feeders. But how do they survive the northern cold? They suspend their high rate of metabolism by entering a state of torpor – a sort of nightly hibernation, where heart rate and body temperature are reduced to a bare minimum. Many hummingbirds, including those in the high Andes, rely on the same strategy. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 06, 2022
American Coots
00:01:42

American Coots settle onto lakes and estuaries, forming rafts of hundreds, even thousands, of birds. They like to feed on aquatic vegetation, and sometimes they lumber ashore to nibble at grasses and agricultural crops. The coot's lobed toes help it swim and maneuver under water. To get airborne, the coot requires a long, running takeoff. Be sure to watch the video of a coot feeding on the Chesapeake Bay. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 05, 2022
Rodney Stotts on Becoming a Falconer
00:01:46

Rodney Stotts decided to become a falconer after years of working with injured raptors and teaching young people about wildlife. When he reached out to potential mentors, some couldn’t picture him, a Black man, as a falconer. But Rodney eventually found a mentor and began training and handling birds of prey. Now a certified master falconer himself, he introduces kids from the Washington, DC, area and beyond to the majesty of raptors. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 04, 2022
Light and Song - Sparks in Winter
00:01:46

Even in winter, some birds — including Black-capped Chickadees, House Finches, and American Robins — greet the sunrise with song. We normally hear the dawn chorus in springtime, when birds sing to define territory and attract mates. But birds don’t breed by warmth alone. Day length is a far more reliable spark than weather. We know that photo-receptors in birds’ brains sense the increasing light. It triggers the production of hormones, which helps bring on the breeding season. Our early birds aren’t breeding in February. But they’re warming up. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 03, 2022
Conserving Wetlands for Black Rails
00:01:36

Black Rails are marsh-inhabiting birds, more often heard than seen. Many Black Rails nest in marshes along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Midwest. But in winter they concentrate in the coastal marshes of East Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, areas that face many threats. US populations of Black Rails have declined greatly. In recent decades, the enactment of laws protecting wetlands has improved the bird's prospects. Still, the Black Rail remains on American Bird Conservancy's "red list." Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 02, 2022
Spark Bird: Chidi Paige and the Yellow Warbler
00:01:46

When Chidi Paige moved from Nigeria to the U.S., she began running a youth STEM program and had to teach lessons on bird identification. She was in for a challenge: she had to learn the local bird species quickly. On a birding trip, she spotted a Yellow Warbler in a pine tree. The beautiful warbler got Chidi hooked on birding. She has designed several games to make learning bird identification fun for kids. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Feb 01, 2022
Biomimicry - Japanese Trains Mimic Kingfisher
00:01:37

In the 1990s, train engineers in Japan built trains able to travel nearly 170 miles per hour. The problem was that when the trains exited a tunnel, the air in front of their bullet-shaped noses expanded rapidly, creating a loud “tunnel boom.” The chief engineer, a birder, looked to the shape of a kingfisher’s bill to design long, narrow train noses that parted the air. The trains became both quieter and more efficient. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 31, 2022
Short-eared Owl
00:01:46

Flapping with deep, slow wing-motion, a Short-eared Owl appears almost to float above the ground. This owl has an extensive world range, including North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Still, it's declining, due to development, agriculture, and overgrazing. American Bird Conservancy and Partners in Flight consider this bird at-risk. But the federal Conservation and Wetland Reserve Programs are showing promise for Short-eared Owls, by preserving large blocks of habitat. Let your elected representatives know that you support these programs! Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 30, 2022
Costa Rica Winter Sunrise
00:01:42

On a winter morning in Costa Rica, a colorful choir welcomes the day. A pair of Bay Wrens sings a brisk duet just before sunrise. Perched in the upper canopy of the tropical lowland forest, a group of Keel-billed Toucans calls out. In a nearby tree, Purple-throated Fruitcrows (like this one) add their voices to the chorus. Then a male Montezuma Oropendola belts out an electrifying series of notes — one of the most distinctive voices in the tropics. Finally, a Bright-rumped Attila calls from its perch. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 29, 2022
Unlikely Duets: Extremes of Bird Sound
00:01:45

This show pairs birds that make sounds on opposite extremes: the highest-pitched bird, the Black Jacobin hummingbird, duets with the Southern Cassowary, one of the lowest-pitched birds. The faint, buzzy song of the Grasshopper Sparrow joins the voice of the White Bellbird, the loudest bird in the world.

This show was produced by World According to Sound. BirdNote and World According to Sound are teaming up for an immersive, 70-minute, virtual event about the sounds of birds. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 28, 2022
Why Do Birds Come to Birdfeeders?
00:01:42

A tube of black oil sunflower seeds isn’t “natural”…and neither is a suet cake. Yet as soon as you hang them up, the neighborhood birds, like these female finches, find them. Those grosbeaks at your feeder probably never ate sunflower seeds in nature. Sunflowers grow in open plains, while grosbeaks live in forests. But birds have a substantial capacity to learn, either by action or by witnessing other birds at a feeder. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 27, 2022
Rhea Nesting Is Mind-boggling
00:01:46

A typical bird nest will have maybe four to six eggs neatly arranged by the parent to hunker down on. But in one Rhea nest, you may find between 50 and 80 eggs! And they’re not all from the same set of parents. Male Rheas mate with several females and then build a single nest on the ground to hold all the eggs from each of them. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 26, 2022
Spark Bird: Rosemary Mosco's Bird and Moon
00:01:46

Rosemary Mosco was drawn to birds as a shy child, because they rewarded patience. In college, she struggled to connect with her classes in anthropology. She began volunteering with a group in Toronto that tries to stop birds from hitting windows. At the same time, she created a cartoon about a lonely bird that befriends the moon and flies around the city having adventures. She now combines art and science as a cartoonist and science writer. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 25, 2022
Winter Brings Falcons
00:01:46

A Merlin — like this one — hunts boldly from a high perch. A Peregrine Falcon dives on a hapless pigeon, with an air speed approaching 200 miles per hour. The Gyrfalcon can fly down even the fastest waterfowl in a direct sprint. A Prairie Falcon blends in with its background. And the smallest North American falcon of all, the American Kestrel, hovers a field, watching for a mouse or large insect. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 24, 2022
Reddish Egret - Lagoon Dancer
00:01:42

The Reddish Egret, a particularly glamorous heron, is best known for its startling antics in capturing fish. When fishing, the egret sprints across the lagoon, weaving left and right, simultaneously flicking its broad wings in and out, while stabbing into the water with its bill. Fish startled at the egret’s crazed movements become targets of that pink dagger. At times, the bird will raise its wings forward over its head, creating a shadow on the water. It then freezes in this position for minutes. Fish swim in, attracted by a patch of shade and . . . well, you know the rest. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 23, 2022
Nictitating Membranes - Nature's Goggles
00:01:46

For most birds, keen eyesight is critical for survival. But many birds lead lives that can be very hard on the eyes — like flying at breakneck speed, racing for cover into a dense thicket, or diving under water to capture prey. Imagine how the chips fly as this Pileated Woodpecker chisels a cavity. Fortunately, birds have evolved a structure for protecting their eyes. Beneath the outer eyelids lies an extra eyelid, called the nictitating membrane. It helps keep the eye moist and clean while guarding it from wind, dust, and hazards. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 22, 2022
Song Sparrows Across the Continent
00:01:46

Song Sparrows can be heard singing almost everywhere in the United States. People have recorded their song along rivers and lakes, in cities and towns, and in fields and forests.

This show was produced by World According to Sound. BirdNote and World According to Sound are teaming up for an immersive, 70-minute, virtual event about the sounds of birds. Learn more at BirdNote.org.

Jan 21, 2022
On a Cold, Cold Night
00:01:32