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Past Shows

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Starlings Say It With Flowers

European Starlings regularly adorn their twig nests with marigolds, elderberry flowers, yarrow leaves, and even willow bark — all of which are full of aromatic chemicals, which fumigate their nests and are thought to discourage pests and parasites. Scientists discovered that starlings hatched in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Great Horned Owl Family in Autumn

Compared to many birds, Great Horned Owls remain with their parents a long time. They hatched in early March, from eggs laid in late January. By April, both parents were hunting through the night to feed their young. But for the last two weeks, the adults have not fed the young. The owlets have... read more »

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The Descent of Birdlore

How did Theodore Roosevelt develop his interest in birds? The chain of events may surprise you. As a budding birdwatcher, Roosevelt was influenced by John Bell, a New York City taxidermist. It turns out that Bell started watching birds 50 years earlier on a trip up the Missouri River with John... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, ornithology, reflection

Birding Trails

Coast to coast and border to border, Birding Trails offer great opportunities to find birds. On a summer trip in New England, along the Connecticut River between Vermont and New Hampshire, you can hear the vividly colored Blackburnian Warbler. Texas birding trails offer birds that can't be found... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Red-necked Phalaropes, Spinners on the Sea

If you’re ever lucky enough to see a Red-necked Phalarope, keep an eye out for its delightful method of feeding. The birds twirl on the surface like little ballerinas, spinning and pecking, again and again. As they spin, the phalaropes force water away from the surface, causing an upward flow... read more »

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Saving Chimneys for Vaux's Swifts

Vaux’s Swifts are perfectly adapted to lives spent in the air. They mate on the wing, and their feet and legs are so small they can’t even walk. But they can hang. So at dusk they collect along the inner walls of giant chimneys, at places like Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, migration

Acorn Woodpecker Granaries

The Acorn Woodpecker is found in parts of the western US. It chips small recesses out of trees to fit the acorns it will harvest throughout the fall. A family of Acorn Woodpeckers may use this storage tree, or granary, for generations. Some of them hold as many as 50,000 acorns. So does the Acorn... read more »

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House Sparrows Can Open Doors

House Sparrows are ingenious birds that have learned a highly specialized skill: how to open automatic doors. House Sparrows have been seen activating electric-eye sensors to fly into restaurants, supermarkets, and home supply stores. What will they be up to next?Support for BirdNote comes from... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Autumnal Equinox

Today marks the mid-point between June's longest day and December's shortest day. We may hardly notice, but ancient cultures closely watched the changes in the sun's daily patterns. One legend from the Andes of South America held that only the giant Andean Condor (like the one pictured here),... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Darwin's Birds

The finches of the Galapagos Islands are famous in the history of evolutionary theory. But Charles Darwin spent four years studying other birds as well, as the Beagle circumnavigated southern South America before reaching the Galapagos in 1835. It was not just the birds, but a lifetime of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

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