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Past Shows

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Wandering Tattlers Hit the Coast

This dusky forager among the mussels and barnacles goes by the curious name of Wandering Tattler. It was likely named for the notion that its rapid whistles alert other birds to the presence of a hunter, or other predator. And while it's not certain that the sandpiper actually "tattles," it truly... read more »


Shorebirds Fly South

The southward migration of plovers and sandpipers – including these Dunlin – is a protracted affair, spanning up to five months. First to come south are post-breeding adults. In August and September, this summer's hatchlings pass through. Others arrive in October; and some stay right through the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

What Bird Has the Coolest Song?

There are more than 10,000 species of birds in the world, and each has a unique song. When we recently asked, "Which bird makes the coolest sound?" over 50 species were nominated! So which bird received the most votes? The Common Raven landed at number three, with the Western Meadowlark just... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Martyn Stewart Part I

We owe a lot to the nature recordists who travel the world to document the calls and songs of birds. Recordist Martyn Stewart describes how he obtained the call of a Rough-legged Hawk (like this one), which nests on the tree-less Arctic tundra: "I had seen this on the Arctic National Wildlife... read more »

Topics & Themes:  recording, sound

Great Horned Owl Menu

Great Horned Owls stalk their prey from perches, while gliding on silent wings, even while walking on the ground. Their prey ranges in size from crickets to turkeys. They take skunks, marmots, muskrats, and house cats. Mink and jack rabbits are on the menu, as is the occasional porcupine. Birds... read more »


Pelagic Birding Trip

If you want to see an albatross, you'll have to go offshore. Our goal lies west: the edge of the Continental Shelf, 35 nautical miles away. In the pelagic realm, we pass among thousands of shearwaters, migrating south to nest near New Zealand, in the austral summer. Someone shouts "Albatross!"... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, flight

Frantic Fowl from Guinea

When you encounter a flock of wild guineafowl anywhere from Senegal to South Africa, they will usually be running, squawking as they go, obviously panic-stricken about something. Guineafowl are funny-looking birds, and their actions and calls are even funnier. These are calls of alarm, warning... read more »


Birds of the Gulf Oil Spill

August 2010 - We share the concern of all who listen to BirdNote for the well-being of the birds that are affected - and are yet to be affected - by the oil spill in the Gulf. Birds such as the Brown Pelican, Snowy Plover, Sandwich Tern, Seaside Sparrow, American Oystercatcher, Willet, Black... read more »


How Young Birds Learn Songs

Within two weeks of hatching, a young male Bewick's Wren is already out of the nest, skulking in the shrubbery. Over the next couple of weeks, the fledgling will learn at least 15 different song variations his father sings. After he wanders off to find his own territory, about a mile from his... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Chickens Circle the Earth

Archaeological discoveries in Chile strongly suggest that chickens reached the New World about 100 years before the first Europeans. They apparently crossed the Pacific aboard outriggers piloted by Polynesian navigators. The DNA found in chicken bones in Chile resembles that of bones found in the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history, science