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Past Shows

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Olive-Sided Flycatcher - Preserving a Unique Voice

These days we're hearing the song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher less often. Clear-cutting and fire suppression in forests, along with acid rain, has reduced its available habitat. Pesticides affect the supply of food. American Bird Conservancy has named it a priority species for conservation.... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Giant Owls of Cuba

The Cuban Giant Owl, now extinct, was 3½ feet tall and weighed 20 pounds — the largest of all known owls. It had very small wings, running after its prey on long, powerful legs. Similar large owls, with long legs and small wings, have been unearthed in places as disparate as Georgia and Hawaii.... read more »

Black-headed Grosbeak Sings!

The song of this male Black-headed Grosbeak has been described as that of a drunken or scat-singing robin. Compare the songs of both birds, and draw your own conclusion! Singing Black-headed Grosbeaks can be heard from May well into summer, especially in streamside woods. read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Tree Swallows and Feathers

Tree Swallows glisten in the June sunlight, as they swoop and glide, their arcs interlacing in the air. When a white feather flutters down among them, one swallow snatches the feather in its bill and flies upward, as another gives chase. After a moment, the lead bird lets loose the feather, which... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

Voices and Vocabularies - Exquisite Thrush Songs

Some believe the song of the Wood Thrush to be the most beautiful bird song in North America. Others select the song of the Hermit Thrush. Still others name the singing of the Swainson’s Thrush. How do thrushes like this Veery create such fine music? The answer is that the birds have a double... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ornithology, science, sound, vocalization

Peace in Wild Places

Wendell Berry wrote: When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests... Where do you go to rest and renew yourself in nature? Where do you come into the peace of... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  reflection

Singing Sandpipers

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... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Secretarybird: Eagle on Stilts

The Secretarybird of sub-Saharan Africa looks like a slim eagle set on the long, slender legs of a crane. Secretarybirds can fly but prefer to hunt on foot, walking over 20 miles a day and dispatching their prey with powerful kicks of their taloned feet. read more »

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The Ballet of the Grebes

When a pair of Western Grebes decides it’s time to mate, they call loudly and approach one another. Each bird curves, then straightens, its long neck gracefully. They then face each other, necks on the water’s surface, their bills flipping up drops of water. If attraction prevails, they rush... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, nesting

Flickers and Buffleheads

After a Northern Flicker carves out a nest cavity, chances are the birds will use the cavity for just one nesting season. But the cavity may have a prolonged career as a home for small owls, bluebirds, swallows, and other birds - including the Bufflehead. Buffleheads - like the family seen here -... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

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