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Past Shows

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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

Evening's Last Singer

After sunset, the American Robin sings faster and more elaborate versions of his daytime songs. Some birds have more than 100 songs! They time their singing to the intensity of light as well as to the time of sunset. When dark clouds roll in, they get rolling earlier. Males sing mainly to attract... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Yellow Bird, A Lullaby

We're born with a sense of wonder. As infants, we delight in many things. We're naturally curious. But inevitably the trials of life intervene... To bring some balance into your life, go outside early some morning. Be still ... and listen to the birds. What do you hear? Find your local Audubon... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Black Swifts Nest behind Waterfalls

A waterfall roars in a box canyon deep in the Cascade Mountains. Just after sunset on a July evening, a slender, dark shape—a Black Swift—arcs into view, just in front of the waterfall. The swift builds its nest in crevices behind waterfalls in the western mountains, from British Columbia to... read more »

A Little Bird Told Me

Sometimes, when we know something just too good to keep secret - but don't want to reveal the source - we say: "A little bird told me..." Where did this come from? The consensus is that the saying springs from Ecclesiastes: "Even in your thought, do not curse the king, nor in your bedchamber... read more »

Topics & Themes:  language

Each Bird Is an Answer

Nature winnows birds. The dangers of their passage over the earth refine them continually. Their capacity to read the world, to find food and each other, are sure signs of birds' ability to meet the demands for which evolution and time have prepared them. But they are not adapted to the man-made... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, reflection

Wimbledon Peregrines

Wimbledon is legendary: the verdant green of the courts, the throngs of fans in sun hats, sightings of royalty ... and lots of pigeons. Since the tennis tournament began in 1877, pigeons nested in the stands and generally made a mess of things. Today, though, very few pigeons attend Wimbledon.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  sports