Birds connect us with the joy and wonder of nature. By telling vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face, BirdNote inspires listeners to care about the natural world – and takes step to protect it.
American Robins (like this male seen here with its young), House Finches, and Song Sparrows may all nest within one small garden. By selecting different nesting strata, the species avoid competing for the same nesting sites. If you plant your garden in multiple layers – trees both short
After they leave the nest but before they take flight, many baby birds - especially robins and flickers - spend time on or near the ground. If you see such a baby bird, and your first thought is to "rescue" it, the better thing to do is let it be. Protect it from cats. Then watch from a
When Adé Ben-Salahuddin stopped to help a trapped young bird on his way home from work, he found an unexpected source of help: an older Black woman walking by who had just the skills for the problem at hand.
During the day, an American Robin, a member of the thrush family, sings a lovely, familiar song of rich phrases. But as the sun begins to set, robin song takes on a different character. From sunset until dark, a robin adds ethereal whispered notes to its carol, creating a song of
We've all heard that the early bird gets the worm. But research shows that birds dining early and heavily may lower their life expectancy. Socially dominant birds stay lean (and agile at avoiding predators) during the day, and then stoke up later, before a cold night. Subordinate birds
Want to try building a nest? Consider this... An average American Robin weighs less than three ounces. An average person weighs 170 pounds, or 1,000 times as much as a robin. A robin's nest, made of grass and mud, weighs about seven ounces, so yours will weigh 450 pounds. You'll need to
When glaciers pushed south into what is now the U.S. around 20,000 years ago, they scraped off the soil layer and spelled the end of native earthworms except in the southern states. So the earthworm plucked by the robin in the park or on your lawn is probably a relatively new arrival, most
This American Robin has caterpillars and an earthworm in its beak. But which food source is the real prize? Everyday earthworms are higher in protein than beef or chicken. You’d have to eat about a pound of soybeans to equal the protein in just three ounces of earthworms. They’re also high
Birds are resourceful. Wherever they live, even in the biggest cities, they find clever places to build their nests. An initiative from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology called Celebrate Urban Birds once asked people to share the funkiest and funniest places they’ve seen a bird nest. Among
Ray Young Bear is a writer, musician and a member of Meskwaki Nation. He considers himself a word collector, writing poetry in both English and Meskwaki, his first language. And he enjoys taking photos of the birds around his home in Iowa. In the spring of 2021, he was spending time with
How does a robin know a worm is in one exact spot? Does it see the worm or hear it? Smell it? Sense its movements through its feet? To find the answer, researchers buried worms in soil in a tray. They covered the soil with a thin but opaque sheet of cardboard, followed by more soil, so the
The purpose of anting remains something of a mystery, although most experts agree it has to do with transferring the ants’ secretions to the bird’s body. It’s likely that the ants’ formic acid helps the bird control feather-mites and other parasites. An avian spa treatment!
Oak trees are an important resource for birds finding insects to feed their young. It takes thousands of caterpillars from an oak tree to raise a single nest of baby birds. By planting an oak species native to your area, you can help ensure that birds are able to raise their young
Even in winter, some birds — including Black-capped Chickadees, House Finches, and American Robins — greet the sunrise with song. We normally hear the dawn chorus in springtime, when birds sing to define territory and attract mates. But birds don’t breed by warmth alone. Day length is a
Some birds have always called nocturnally, but other species are relative newcomers to the nighttime music scene, specifically in urban areas. Birds such as American Robins often sing well into the night. Scientists are studying what environmental cues might lead to this behavior. While
If a young American Robin survives its first winter, its chances of survival go up. But robins still don’t live very long. The oldest robins in your yard might be about three years old (although thanks to banding, we know of one bird that lived to be almost 14).
Rasheena Fountain studied environmental science and worked at her local Audubon Society. Now she writes about nature and diversity in the outdoors. And what got her interested in the first place? It all started in kindergarten, with a teacher named Miss Beak and the first robin of spring.
After hatching, baby robins spend up to 15 days in the nest. By July, many young American Robins have left the nest, or fledged. But they aren't ready to make it entirely on their own yet, and they follow their parents around, learning to fend for themselves. Outside of the breeding season
When scientists looked at climate data for more than 8,500 robins’ nests in the US, they found that robins will nest only if the mean noon temperature is between 45 and 65 degrees. But even more critical is relative humidity: it needs to be around 50 percent in the middle of the day. What
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
What was the first bird you noticed as a child? Perhaps you heard the cheery song of the American Robin coming from the top of a nearby tree. Or maybe you saw a robin running and pausing on the lawn, cocking its head before extracting a fat, juicy worm from the ground. The robin is often
It's mid-winter, and a passing flock of robins suddenly drops out of the sky. A moment ago, the yard was empty of birds, but now it's full. They settle in a bush laden with fruits (like this hawthorne). When the robins pass over a fruiting shrub, those red berries signal like a neon sign
In winter, flocks of American Robins spend the night together. Typically, a few dozen to a few hundred birds roost communally in trees or an old barn, or under a bridge. But larger robin roosts can number in the thousands, or even tens of thousands! In 2007, observers near St. Petersburg
If you watch backyard birds, you will likely see some characteristic behaviors. One example is "foraging" styles — the behaviors that a bird uses to find food. Some birds, such as sparrows, are famous for their "double-scratch" behavior. The bird jumps forward and back, quite quickly
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Our little mountain-ash is all alive with [birds.] A dozen robins on it at once ... plucking the berries... A robin will swallow half a dozen berries, at least, in rapid succession..." If you, too, enjoy watching birds eat berries, then consider planting trees
Autumn brings robins to feed on tree fruit and berries. Are the robins you see now the same robins that you saw in your garden last summer? Some robins do remain year 'round. Others spend only the winter, having nested farther north. John James Audubon may have been the first to band birds
This quiz features - an American Robin ... - an Olive-sided Flycatcher, like this one ... - a Red-tailed Hawk ... - a Steller's Jay, which you're most likely to hear west of the Rockies ... - and a Blue Jay, usually seen east of the Rockies. Support for BirdNote comes from American Bird
When American Robins gather to pluck berries, you can expect to see a lot of fluttering. The robins are heavy, making it a lot harder to perch and creep along a thin stem. And they have long, strong legs because they spend so much time walking and hopping on the ground in search of food
When he was just a kid, Gordon Orians kept notebooks about the birds he saw. And then he realized he could make discoveries – he could add to the body of knowledge and contribute to science. That opened a whole new world to him, and he has spent the rest of his life studying birds and the
Since 1929, Michigan’s state bird has been the American Robin. But lots of people think it’s time for a change. The Black-capped Chickadee is a popular favorite, as is the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler. But it turns out that it’s pretty hard to get a state bird changed.
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 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
The male American Robin - fiercely territorial - belts out its distinctive cheery song to defend its breeding territory from invasion by other robins. Sometimes, the robin sees its own reflection as an interloper and challenges the “invader” over and over, even to the point of exhaustion
When it comes to raising a family, American Robins have got it down. Approximately eight days after the male and female mate, the female builds the nest. A few days later, she lays eggs. She sits on the eggs for 18 hours a day, and the eggs hatch in about three weeks. Both parents feed the
April 23 is the birthday of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was pretty well acquainted with - among one or two other things - birds. More than forty strut, twitter, shriek, sing, and soar through his works. But the bird he knew as a Robin Redbreast is not the bird we call a "robin" in the
Some birds are born with the ability to sing. Others learn to sing while they're young — just like humans, who must learn to speak. It turns out that vocal learning in songbirds and humans may have more in common than anyone suspected. Recent DNA research reveals that songbirds and humans
A hawk dives into your yard, and a frightened robin slams against a window, mistaking the transparent rectangle for an escape route. But you can help. Fold its wings gently over its body in their natural position, grasp the bird lightly, and wrap it loosely several times in the towel. Keep
It can be difficult to identify a bird by its appearance, and just as challenging to do so by its song. But birding by ear is a great way to get to know birds. A blind birder in Kitsap County, Washington, was puzzled by a haunting bird song. She thought it might be a special song of the
Why do birds start their songs so early in the morning? Many are announcing that they've made it through the night. Some males grab the first opportunity to remind others of their territories and to fend off other males. Certain migratory males signal their location and availability to
According to the Suquamish story, many years ago, South Wind blew hot and long. The animals banded together and found the source of the wind - a fortress atop a rocky mountain. At night, the animals crept into the fortress and vanquished the men who protected the South Wind. Afterward, the
Every day in October 2011, nearly 3.5 million hours were spent playing Rovio's award-winning game, "Angry Birds." We don't know of too many birds whose eggs are stolen by pigs, but no bird is happy when its eggs are stolen. You might hear an American Robin, sounding its alarm. An angry
When English settlers in the New World encountered the American Robin, they saw in it a reflection of the bird they knew as the Robin in the old country. So they called this one a robin, too. Today the American and British Ornithological Unions together determine how a bird is named. For a
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
John Burroughs, one of the masters of American nature writing, wrote "The birds do indeed begin with the day. The farmer who is in the field at work while he can yet see stars catches their first matin hymns. In the longest June days the robin strikes up about half past three o'clock..."
In March, we welcome the lengthening days and the renewal of bird song. Among the earliest spring singers in the SE Alaska are American Dipper (left), American Robin, and American Tree Sparrow. Listen to the songs of these early spring songsters and thousands of others at Cornell
In March, we welcome the lengthening days and the renewal of bird song. Among the earliest spring singers in California are American Robin (left), Fox Sparrow, and Wrentit. Listen to the songs of these birds, plus thousands of others at Cornell University's Macaulay Library website. Learn
In March, we welcome the lengthening days and the renewal of bird song. Among the earliest spring singers in the Northwest is this House Finch, whose sweet, jumbled song carries along city blocks and rocky canyons. And spring songs are breaking out all over the country. Listen to the song