In this episode of BirdNoir, the private eye gets a call from H. Jon Benjamin about unusual Wild Turkey behavior. A male turkey (known as a “tom”) won’t leave his car alone. He keeps tapping his beak on the car. Then the turkey starts circling the house and looking in all the windows. The
The anatomical structure we call the wishbone was long thought unique to birds. But fossil discoveries of recent decades have shown that some dinosaurs, including the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, and the Velociraptors of ”Jurassic Park,” also had wishbones. And there is now wide consensus
We asked David Sibley, creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, how changes in the environment are affecting birds such as this Brown Thrasher. He says, “A shift of habitat has caused a shift in the species” he's observed in the Northeastern US. For example, Wild Turkeys
As an old tale goes, after the eagle was chosen for national emblem, Benjamin Franklin questioned the choice. In a letter to his daughter regarding a medal created by the Society of the Cincinnati, he wrote wrily: "The Bald Eagle is too lazy to fish for himself; when the Osprey has taken a
A bird’s stomach is divided into two parts. The first part is a lot like our stomach; it’s filled with digestive juices to break down food. But the second part — that’s the bird’s gizzard. It’s a strong, muscular pouch that breaks down hard foods like seeds and nuts. Support for BirdNote
It’s likely that the Mayans of southern Mexico were the first to domesticate turkeys. Early Spanish explorers in the Americas took these domestic birds back with them to Europe, and then early European colonists migrating to America’s Atlantic seaboard brought domestic turkeys back along
Close your eyes and let’s take a little trip today, from one landscape to another, discovering new birds calling in the wild. Particular birds are tied to their particular habitats. As these natural places go, so go the birds.
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
Preston Pittman won his first turkey-calling contest when he was only 16, and he makes the sounds with his mouth. Sadler McGraw uses the "friction" technique. He pulls a "striker" - almost like a screwdriver - across a crystal surface. It sounds for all the world like a Wild Turkey, and it
Osceola, also called Florida, Turkeys are right at home in Florida’s flatwoods and dense, swampy landscapes, which likely protected it from overhunting in the early 1900s. If you ever find yourself in the Florida woods, be sure to keep an ear out. If you’re on turkey turf, you’re likely to
Birds like male turkeys or barnyard roosters have a wrinkly, bumpy flap of red skin called a wattle. But what are wattles for? Birds can’t sweat, so wattles help release excess heat. Wattles are also key to courtship displays. Many other birds, including some storks and plovers, also have
Turkey in the Straw was a fiddle tune called Natchez Under the Hill before it was published with words. It became popular during Andrew Jackson's presidency, which would put it on the scene about the early 1830s. We know that Wild Turkeys prefer woodlands to barns with straw. Nevertheless
In the early 1800s, John James Audubon wrote: "The great size and beauty of the Wild Turkey, its value as a delicate and highly prized article of food... render it one of the most interesting of the birds indigenous to the United States of America." Read Audubon's description of how Wild
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.