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Past Shows

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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

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 »