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Past Shows

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Swallows Swallow

Roughly 99% of a swallow's diet is flying insects. They gulp down millions of flies, mosquitoes, and agricultural pests, in the course of feeding themselves and their young. The world population of Barn Swallows is estimated to be 190 million. If each ate just 350 insects per day, that would mean... read more »


Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest 2010

In spring, Washington State bubbles with bird song. And you can see a lot of birds at the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest in May. (Check the website for dates.) Join bird experts to explore the diverse natural habitats of north-central Washington and the more than 150 bird species regularly found... read more »

Topics & Themes:  festival

Earth Day Celebrates 40 Years

April 22, 2010 marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. On Earth Day, we're reminded to honor the earth and preserve the balance of nature. Few things remind us more of the fundamental need to conserve and enjoy nature than the voices of birds - the irreplaceable voices of birds. This Eastern... read more »

Pigeon Guillemot - Indicator Species

A Pigeon Guillemot, a sprightly seabird, is considered an "indicator species," meaning a species that "indicates" the health of an environment. A large group of Whidbey Island Audubon volunteers in Washington State has been studying the 1,000 or so guillemots that breed on the island. In April,... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Marsh Wren - Where's Marty Now?

The Marsh Wren is BirdNote's signature bird, photographed by BirdNote advisor, Idie Ulsh. Marty, the BirdNote mascot, has been all over the world. He's seen here with writer Dennis Paulson in South Africa. Take Marty with you on your next trip! Download a copy of Marty, print him out, and pop him... read more »

Topics & Themes:  humor

Backyard Bird Science

One of the best studies of a North American bird ever written was published by a citizen-scientist named Margaret Morse Nice. Margaret Nice banded more than 800 Song Sparrows in a 40-acre tract in Ohio. Most of us have neither the time nor the 40 acres, but there is still much we can do. Start by... read more »

Topics & Themes:  citizen science, science

Snipe Hunt

One of the most ethereal of spring sounds is that made by the Wilson's Snipe. Much as if they were playing a reed instrument, the male snipe produces a winnowing sound in flight by metering, with his wings, the flow of air over his tail-feathers. Among the most venerable of practical jokes... read more »

Topics & Themes:  language

Migration: Following the Stars

Studies have shown that many songbirds use stars to help guide them, and will fly the wrong way when they are disoriented. Imagine flying thousands of miles without map or compass, in the dark of night. Throughout April, songbirds are traveling north on their annual spring migration. Visit your... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, music

Bufflehead, Never Still

The male Bufflehead performs his extravagant courtship display often. He swims toward the female, bobbing his head up and down at a speed that makes you fear for his neck. He takes off and flies over her with head held low. Then he lifts his head, raises his bushy crest, and skis back on to the... read more »


Dawn Song, Spring Equinox

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 observing birds is to hear the dawn song in spring. Early in the morning, warblers,... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization