BirdNote

By Tune In to Nature.org

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Category: Natural Sciences

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Subscribers: 368
Reviews: 3

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. Join us for daily two-minute stories about birds, the environment, and more.

Episode Date
Crows and Chips
Crows didn't get where they are today by being shy or slow. They take advantage of whatever food they find, where and when they find it. Listener Jerry Campbell told his story of one crow making off with three chips. Be sure to watch the video of another clever crow in Japan -- in Sights and Sounds
Nov 29, 2020
Feisty Cardinal
You may not have seen a Northern Cardinal in the wild, but you've probably seen one on holiday cards or the cover of a bird book. During spring breeding season, biologist Eric Lind and his team capture and band birds at Constitution Marsh on the east side of the Hudson River. For eight years in a
Nov 28, 2020
Seabirds of St. George Island
Every year, close to two million birds nest on St. George Island, one of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, a couple hundred miles north of the Aleutian chain of Alaska. Murres, kittiwakes, cormorants, fulmars, Horned Puffins, and Parakeet Auklets arrange themselves on the cliffs. Gerrit Vyn
Nov 27, 2020
Wishbones and Dinosaurs
The anatomical structure we call the wishbone was long thought unique to birds. But fossil discoveries of recent decades have shown that some dinosaurs, including the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, and the Velociraptors of ”Jurassic Park,” also had wishbones. And there is now wide consensus among experts
Nov 26, 2020
More Eyes and Ears
A family of dapper Black-capped Chickadees call as they hang upside down, pecking at alder seeds. A wren skulks and buzzes through the underbrush. A petite Downy Woodpecker whinnies nearby. Mixed-species flocks may include a dozen species and more than fifty individuals. More ears and eyes mean
Nov 25, 2020
Collecting Murre Eggs
On St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, Ivan Melovidov collects speckled murre eggs in the traditional Aleut way, by descending over the edge of a cliff. With a rope tied around his waist he runs along a cliff-face, dodging fulmars, seabirds known for projecting foul-smelling stomach oil with
Nov 24, 2020
Rough-legged Hawk
After breeding on Arctic cliffs and tundra hillsides in summer, Rough-legged Hawks winter throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Open country is their ideal territory, where the small rodents they depend on are usually so plentiful that the hawks have enough to eat. But the rodents are cyclic, with
Nov 23, 2020
Harlequin Ducks in the Tetons
Some Harlequin Ducks migrate from the Pacific Coast all the way to the Teton Mountains in northwestern Wyoming to breed in the summer. White markings on both drakes and hens help them disappear amidst turbulent white water and rocks. Predators, like Peregrine Falcons, have a hard time spotting them
Nov 22, 2020
Late Fall Sounds to Listen For
By the time November rolls around, the bird songs of summer can seem a distant memory. But there’s always something to listen for. Small birds like chickadees and kinglets, including the Golden-crowned Kinglet pictured here, often mix in flocks while foraging. Geese can be heard overhead in the sky
Nov 21, 2020
Great Horned Owls Calling
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
Nov 20, 2020
Barn Owls in the Big Apple
New Yorkers may think they hear owls hooting outside their apartment windows, but it’s more likely the coo of a Mourning Dove. There are owls in the city, but they prefer to live in more secluded areas, like Jamaica Bay in South Queens. Don Riepe has been building and installing nest boxes there for
Nov 19, 2020
Pygmy-Owls' False Eyes
This Northern Pygmy-Owl appears to have eyes in the back of its head. But why? One theory is that large false eyes may create the illusion that the owl is much bigger than its 6 and 3/4-inch size. A more current theory is that the false eyes help protect the pygmy-owl's true eyes. Small birds will
Nov 18, 2020
Pinyon-Juniper and Pinyon Jays
The pinyon-juniper woodlands of northern Arizona support Pinyon Jays, which rely heavily on pinyon nuts. The birds live in socially complex flocks of up to 500, and each buries 20-30 thousand nuts a year. They fail to find around 10% of those, helping pine dispersal. Pinyon nuts are also important
Nov 17, 2020
Partial Migration - Killdeer Play Leap Frog
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
Nov 16, 2020
The Oystercatcher's World
Black Oystercatchers prey on shellfish in the wave zone, especially mussels and limpets. The waves cause mussels to open often, making them easier to eat. The Black Oystercatcher nests on ledges just off shore, and its eggs and young suffer far less predation by mammals. Contrary to their name
Nov 15, 2020
Bosque del Apache, High Desert Oasis
At this time of year, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is a birder's paradise. The refuge — critical wintering habitat for great numbers of birds — sits where the north edge of the Chihuahuan desert meets the Rio Grande River. Witness the magnificent spectacle of the sunrise
Nov 14, 2020
Gull Identification II
The challenge of learning which gull is which brings to mind a crossword puzzle. Take in all the clues, and come up with the right answer. For identifying gulls, we recommend a good bird book, binoculars, perhaps a thermos of hot coffee, and maybe a chair. So which gull is this? Large gull, dark
Nov 13, 2020
Watching Whimbrels
Whimbrels migrate from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic to winter in South America. They fly nearly 1,000 miles without stopping before landing in the salt marshes of Cape Cod for a layover. Each year since the 1990s, Whimbrels traveling along the Atlantic coast have declined by 4%, due
Nov 12, 2020
Little Brown Birds
So many little brown birds look the same. They might be sparrows, or wrens, or finches, or something altogether different. And you often find them together in winter. Learning to tell these "LBBs" apart can be really frustrating for novice birdwatchers. Birds such as wrens, finches, and sparrows -
Nov 11, 2020
Lesser Prairie-Chickens in Kansas
Male Lesser Prairie-Chickens in southwest Kansas put on quite a show to attract females. They raise their long neck feathers, fan their tails, stomp their feet, and inflate their orange throat sacs to yodel. Once abundant across the plains, the birds have lost 85% of their historic range. The US
Nov 10, 2020
Blind Snakes and Screech-Owls
During the breeding season, when Eastern Screech-Owls capture the worm-like reptiles known as blind snakes, they deliver them to their chicks alive and wriggling. Some are gulped down immediately, but others escape by burrowing beneath the nest. The surviving “snakes” feed on the insect larvae they
Nov 09, 2020
Triple-duty Garden - with Joanna Buehler
What can one person do when large-scale human development replaces nearby natural habitat? Seattle-area lakeside resident Joanna Buehler spoke out for clean water and the needs of wildlife. As she watched parking lots and buildings replace wetlands and woods, she created a rain garden where storm
Nov 08, 2020
The Peregrine Falcons of Boston
Peregrine Falcons were once wiped out along the Eastern seaboard. The culprit was DDT, a pesticide that weakened the birds’ eggshells. DDT was used from the 1940s until it was banned in 1972. Nest boxes, like those in Boston’s Custom House Tower, have been crucial to the remarkable recovery of these
Nov 07, 2020
Eurasian Collared-Doves' Sense of Direction
The Eurasian Collared-Dove is rapidly increasing across the US and southern Canada. This sandy pink bird with the neat black neckband was released in the Bahamas in the 1960s. Brought in as pets, some doves escaped. They made it to Florida a few years later and have been spreading in a generally
Nov 06, 2020
Mating Strategy of the Saltmarsh Sparrow
In the tidal marshes of the East Coast, the Saltmarsh Sparrow has a breeding strategy described by scientists as featuring an “obligate, promiscuous, and bond-free relationship between males and females.” That means both sexes copulate with multiple individuals, without a lasting relationship. The
Nov 05, 2020
Bufflehead Return
This month, the Bufflehead returns from the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska to winter in our waters. Its nicknames include little black-and-white duck, bumblebee duck, buffalo-headed duck, butterball, and spirit duck. Buffleheads have elaborate courtship displays that they perform throughout the
Nov 04, 2020
Grouse After Fire
The 2020 wildfire season has burned more than 8 million acres in the West, including some of the most important habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse in Washington State. Ashley Ahearn visits a lek she’d seen in the spring with biologist Michael Schroeder to understand the scope of the damage. But
Nov 03, 2020
Chickadee Brains Are Bigger in the Cold
As the colder months arrive, birds that remain in northern climates face the harsh realities of staying warm and finding food. Some birds approach the food problem by storing it in advance — a behavior called caching. Chickadees, nuthatches, jays, and some woodpeckers are known to cache large
Nov 02, 2020
Frigatebirds - Seabirds That Can't Get Wet
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
Nov 01, 2020
The Vampire Finch
Vampire Ground-Finches menace their victims in broad daylight, stabbing holes in their flesh, then devouring the blood. During the dry season, when their usual diet of seeds can be scarce, they turn to large seabirds, like boobies. Fluttering onto a booby’s back, the finch jabs its sharp beak in
Oct 31, 2020
Seasonal Flooding of the Amazon
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
Oct 30, 2020
All Those Fish in a Puffin's Beak
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
Oct 29, 2020
Birds and Berries
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Our little mountain-ash is all alive with [birds.] A dozen robins on it at once ... plucking the berries... A robin will swallow half a dozen berries, at least, in rapid succession..." If you, too, enjoy watching birds eat berries, then consider planting trees and shrubs
Oct 28, 2020
Feistypipers
Pity the bird that gets between a Semipalmated Sandpiper and its meal out on the mudflat! If crowded while foraging, they will readily attack, bumping birds of their own and larger species out of the way with their bodies. The deceptively cute juveniles can be just as irritable as their elders
Oct 27, 2020
Chorus Line in the Sky
A flock of small shorebirds (like these Western Sandpipers) twists and turns, glittering in the sky. When threatened by a falcon, these birds take to the air, flying so close together that it's hard for a predator to capture one. A bird at one edge turns toward the middle, and a wave sweeps across
Oct 26, 2020
Where Birds Go to Die
Birds seem to be all around us. But we rarely come across those that have died. And why? When birds suffer from illness or injury, they often seek safe, secluded places — hidden from view and potential predators. So when death comes, a bird’s body is hidden. And it doesn’t persist for long
Oct 25, 2020
The Secret Lives of Goldfinches
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
Oct 24, 2020
Is It the Same Robin?
Autumn brings robins to feed on tree fruit and berries. Are the robins you see now the same robins that you saw in your garden last summer? Some robins do remain year 'round. Others spend only the winter, having nested farther north. John James Audubon may have been the first to band birds, in order
Oct 23, 2020
Climate Change and Range Expansion
In the past few decades, a number of species have spread north from California into Oregon, Washington, and even to British Columbia. Red-shouldered Hawks, Black Phoebes, Lesser Goldfinches, and others that were rare in Washington State 20 years ago now turn up regularly. One common element in the
Oct 22, 2020
Here Come the Merlins
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
Oct 21, 2020
Call of the Sage-Grouse
In the Red Desert of Wyoming, Erik Molvar takes us up close and personal with a Greater Sage-Grouse mating site, known as a lek. “Anybody who’s ever been to a singles bar will recognize this scene,” Erik says. “The males are puffing out their chests, strutting around, trying to catch the female’s
Oct 20, 2020
White-browed Coucal
This White-browed Coucal - also known as Burchell's Coucal - is common in many parts of Africa. "Streaky and sneaky" best describes these birds, because you'll be lucky if you see one. Dew from their dense habitat often dampens their feathers. Then, they hop to the top of a bush and spread their
Oct 19, 2020
Tony Angell Reflects on Nature
Tony Angell, gazing on Puget Sound, writes: "From the beach below, that evocative perfume of the sea, decaying kelp, is wafted up on the breeze... Near the shore, disputing kingfishers rattle in their mercenary manner, chasing one another... Behind me, in the woods, a Cooper's hawk chants and ravens
Oct 18, 2020
Cattle Egret - You've Got a Friend in Me
Many birds that forage in open country, such as Cattle Egrets, benefit from association with large grazing mammals. The mammals scare up insects as they move, making them more visible to the birds. In the egrets’ native lands in Africa, the birds feed with elephants, rhinos, and Cape buffalos. In
Oct 17, 2020
Chipping Sparrows
The begging calls of male baby Chipping Sparrows mix into what is known as "subsong," a sort of infant babbling. And, very quickly, subsong begins to change to imitations of adult songs. Next spring, when the young male returns for its first breeding season, it will settle in near an older male
Oct 16, 2020
Hudsonian Godwit
Hudsonian Godwits are tough birds to find, and they were once thought extinct due to overhunting. After nesting at sites scattered in the High Arctic, they migrate south on a route that takes them over the ocean from Canada to South America. In spring, they head north through the Great Plains
Oct 15, 2020
Acorn Woodpecker
He doesn't sound exactly like Woody Woodpecker, but the Acorn Woodpecker was probably the model for the cartoon character. The story goes that Walter Lantz and his new bride, Grace, were on their honeymoon in a cabin in California. A racket on their roof drew them outside, where they spotted an
Oct 14, 2020
An Annual Trek to a Lek
Matt Holloran has been studying Greater Sage-Grouse for more than 20 years, assessing how oil and gas extraction affects them. His favorite lek, or mating site, is an important place for Matt. He and his wife met here doing research. They named their first daughter Sage. Over the years, he’s seen
Oct 13, 2020
Yogi Berra's Wit and Wisdom
The late Yogi Berra, renowned New York Yankees catcher, is sometimes remembered less for his exceptional play and more for his turns of phrase. One of which was reported as, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” When it comes to observing birds such as this Golden-crowned Kinglet, Berra was
Oct 12, 2020
Alexander Archipelago - Lessons for Climate Change
How will birds and other wildlife respond to global climate change? We can learn many lessons from the Alexander Archipelago, a chain of islands in southeast Alaska. Less than 10,000 years ago, these islands were covered by ice. Sea levels were 100 meters lower than today, allowing many species to
Oct 11, 2020
Songbirds: The Large and Small of It
The group of birds called “songbirds” — the perching birds — is incredibly broad. Half the world’s 10,000 birds are in the songbird group, and their range of body sizes is mind-boggling. One of the smallest songbirds in North America is the Golden-crowned Kinglet, barely larger than a hummingbird
Oct 10, 2020
Monk Parakeets
If you live in North America, parrots might seem like exotic creatures. North America’s once-common native species, the Carolina Parakeet, has been extinct since the early 20th Century. But more and more parrots are making this continent their home. Escaped Monk Parakeets now have self-sustaining
Oct 09, 2020
Bird Names for Birds
Lifelong birder Jordan Rutter co-founded the campaign Bird Names for Birds. The goal? To discontinue the use of honorific names and replace them with names that celebrate the unique attributes, behaviors, and biomes of the birds. “There's a way for us to remember and learn the history of ornithology
Oct 08, 2020
Saw-whet Owls Hoot and Hoot
Northern Saw-whet Owls are common in forests across southern Canada and the northern U.S. In early autumn, many move southward, making a large concentration especially in the region of the Great Lakes. To our ear, the "advertising call" of the male, made mostly in spring and summer, sounds awfully
Oct 07, 2020
Wewa and the Grouse
Wilson Wewa, an elder of the Northern Paiute tribe of the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, remembers the first time he saw a sage-grouse lek … hearing their otherworldly sound. “As a little boy of about five or six years old, I got scared!” Wewa says. “I didn’t know what it was.” [Hear more
Oct 06, 2020
October Migrants - Look Who's Back!
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
Oct 05, 2020