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Past Shows

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Hold the Phone

Many birds are difficult to see, such as the Sora. Its plumage blends perfectly with the dense marsh grass where it lives. So how can we get a good look at this denizen of the undergrowth? One way is to play a bird-call app on a mobile device. But using an app requires sensitivity. Because stress... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Recycle Your Eggshells to Help Nesting Birds

Female birds need to eat calcium to have enough of the mineral to lay their eggs. But it can be hard to find enough of it to eat in nature. We can help our backyard birds by offering them some extra calcium in bird feeders and by recycling our used egg shells.This show brought to you by the... read more »

A Young Bewick's Wren Learns to Sing

Donald Kroodsma, avian communication expert, offers great research on the songs of the Bewick's Wren. At this time of year, a very young male Bewick's Wren is beginning to learn how to sing. His father sings a crisp well-defined song, separated by pauses, but the young bird's song is fuzzy,... read more »


America's Love of the Lawn

According to NASA, there are about 63,000 square miles of lawn in the US — nearly enough to cover the state of Wisconsin. That’s bad news, because most birds (other than this European Starling) prefer shrubs that provide food and cover. And lawns suck up fertilizers, herbicides, fossil fuels, and... read more »

Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet Tunes Up

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of the smallest songbirds on the continent, weighing in at just a little more than half a chickadee. Mostly green and hard to spot, it hovers in mid-air as it catches tiny insects. In early spring, the kinglet's rollicking song echoes from the forest edge in the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Why Is My Robin Half White?

A bird with abnormal white feathers, like this American Robin, may have a genetic condition called leucism. Leucism prevents pigments from reaching some — or sometimes all — of a bird’s feathers. Albino birds are distinctly different and are entirely white with pink skin and eyes. Albinos have... read more »

Topics & Themes:  plumage

Which Species of Bird Sings First in the Morning?

The dawn chorus is that time when, just before sunrise, birds begin to sing. One by one, then all together, their voices join to greet the new day. But which bird sings first? The timing of when a bird joins the chorus seems to depend on how well it can see in low light.Support for BirdNote comes... read more »

Maria Schneider and Cerulean Skies

Millions of migratory birds are winging their way north. In her jazz composition Cerulean Skies, American jazz composer Maria Schneider, celebrates their return. She says, “What really inspires me when I’m looking at the birds in Central Park is imagining the journey that they’ve been on.” She... read more »

Topics & Themes:  music, reflection

Ponderosa Pine Savanna

In a Western ponderosa pine savanna, tall pines dot an open, grassy landscape. A Western Bluebird flits from a gnarly branch, as this Cassin's Finch belts out a rapid song. The trees here grow singly or in small stands. Upslope, the pines become denser, mixing with firs. Downhill, the trees give... read more »


Have You Ever Seen a Tom Turkey's Beard?

With his brilliantly colored plumage fanned out in display, this tom (male) Wild Turkey is a handsome sight to behold. He has a bright red head, long spurs, and… a beard. This “beard” is a small cluster of bristles that sprouts from the bird’s chest plumage. It looks like a misplaced ponytail.... read more »