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City Owls

Some owls, like Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls, live in the city. As hunters, they find a lot to eat in the city — like rats or squirrels! Both favor urban parks, cemeteries, and botanical gardens — places with big trees — and both roost during the day. The Great Horned Owl, like this one,... read more »

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Amazing Feet

What looks like feet on a bird are actually its toes. That backward-looking knee is more like an ankle. A bird’s feet are suited to its unique way of living. Eagles capture live prey with long talons, while water birds use webbed feet to guide and propel themselves. And ostriches have two massive... read more »

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BirdNote Gallery

Laysan Albatross

New photos every week! Check out the gallery. This Laysan Albatross courtesy of Matt Knoth.

Late Summer Shorebirds

Celebrating Shorebirds!It's late summer and all across North America, millions of shorebirds — sandpipers and plovers — are on the move. Seattle photographer Gregg Thompson has been following the annual pilgrimage for the last few years.Here's a handful of the birds he's seen. Thanks, Gregg... read more »

Ben Mirin, Interview with D.J. Ecotone

Sound artist and wildlife DJ, Ben Mirin, travels the world collecting the sounds of nature. His energy is incredible. Ben, better known as DJ Ecotone, takes the sounds he finds and remixes them into frenetic, electronic compositions.So when BirdNote realized we needed a new piece of music to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, recording

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... read more »

Who Likes Suet?

Chickadees and titmice, nuthatches and jays, and woodpeckers, like the Pileated pictured here, all love suet. As do birds whose beaks can’t open seeds, like tiny kinglets, and almost any wintering warbler. The Brown Creeper, usually creeping up tree trunks, is a cool bird to discover at your suet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

Starlings Say It With Flowers

European Starlings regularly adorn their twig nests with marigolds, elderberry flowers, yarrow leaves, and even willow bark — all of which are full of aromatic chemicals, which fumigate their nests and are thought to discourage pests and parasites. Scientists discovered that starlings hatched in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Ulm Sparrows

As an old story from Germany goes, workers building the world’s tallest church were preparing to install an immensely long beam, but they couldn’t get it through the city gate. Preparing to dismantle the city wall to clear a path to the construction site, workers saw a House Sparrow carry a long... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

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