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Past Shows

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From Egg-laying to Hatching and Beyond

Waterfowl like this Muscovy duckling spend up to 30 days in the egg, so they’re able to walk, swim, and feed themselves as soon as they hatch. We call these chicks precocial. By contrast, the chicks of most songbirds spend less time maturing in the egg. They must continue to develop in the nest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, ornithology

The Ancient Greeks Believed Kingfishers Were Born of Epic Love

The ancient Greeks believed the gods turned two distraught lovers into kingfishers — or “halcyon birds.” Thanks to divine assistance, these birds would enjoy calm weather during their nesting period. Even today, many kingfishers have echoes of this story in their scientific names. read more »

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Golden-crowned Sparrows in the Klondike

Words help us identify birds by vocalizations. Like the towhee's "Drink your tea,” or the Great Horned Owl’s “Who’s awake? Me, too…” Then there are the sweet, clear whistles of the Golden-crowned Sparrow. In the late 1890s, the gold prospectors of the Yukon may have imagined they were singing: ... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

City Gulls - Rooftop Nesters

Juvenile Glaucous-winged Gulls are taking flight over downtown Seattle. In Chicago, young Ring-billed Gulls are heading for Lake Michigan. And before long, juvenile Herring Gulls will be soaring over the Atlantic Ocean. More and more, some gulls are raising their families in the city. They nest... read more »

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Burped Ps

Parrots are famous for their ability to mimic human voices. But to teach a parrot all the sounds of human language is actually really challenging. They might not have the right anatomy to replicate the sound faithfully, but they can usually improvise.Hear the full episode from our friends at... read more »

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City Ravens

Once common on the Atlantic Coast, Common Ravens became rare, as human activity grew more obtrusive through the 1900s. But something changed around the dawn of the 21st century. The ravens came back. Ravens now patrol parking lots in New Jersey to seize the choicest trash, dodge speeding cars on... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

How to Make a Flower Bomb

If you’ve got a couple of hours free this weekend, and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, here’s a fun project to try. Flower bombs are a mix of native plant seeds, some plant food, and some clay. It’s important that you always use native seeds. Start with a list of plants native to... read more »

Recording the Sounds of the Natural World

Gordon Hempton has spent his whole life recording the sounds of the natural world. But capturing intricate, immersive soundscapes is a challenge: Gordon has to keep entirely silent, sometimes for hours at a time. Tune in to the entire journey at birdnote.org/soundescapes.This show is made... read more »

American Robins Are Exceptional Singers

As singers go, American Robins are exceptional. They’re often the first birds to sing in the morning, and the last you’ll hear in the evening. While their average song strings fewer than a dozen short phrases together and lasts only a few seconds, robins sometimes sing for minutes without a pause... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Bushtits

Weighing about as much as four paperclips, Bushtits are smaller than many hummingbirds. And they take full advantage of their diminutive size. While larger insect-eaters forage on the upper surfaces of leaves, Bushtits hang beneath them, plucking all the tiny insects and spiders hiding out of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

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