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BirdNote Moments for March 2014

King Penguin © Graham Canny

King Penguins – World's Largest Kazoo Band
Written by Bob Sundstrom

And now, a BirdNote Moment!
[Sounds of a colony of King Penguins]
While it’s still winter in many parts of North America, it’s summer in Antarctica. And the birds are singing—at least the penguins are. [King Penguin pair calls] A pair of King Penguins stands face to face. They tilt their heads back, point their long bills skyward, and trumpet in unison. [King Penguin pair calls]
Altogether, more than two million King Penguins nest on islands in the Southern Ocean, the sea that surrounds Antarctica.
From the time the female lays her single egg in late spring, it will take about 14 months before that chick is ready to fend for itself the following summer – we hope with a loud sendoff from the immense kazoo band. [King Penguin pair calls]


Listen to the full BirdNote show, "King Penguins - World's Largest Kazoo Band" >>


Red-winged Blackbird © Kenneth C. Schneider

Voices and Vocabularies – The Basics
Written by Bob Sundstrom

And now, a BirdNote Moment!
[Basic songs of Red-winged Blackbird, Willow Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat] – Three different birds are singing across a marsh.
One bird’s voice comes across as a brassy “kon-ka-REE!” [Red-winged Blackbird song, twice]. A second sounds like a sneeze [Willow Flycatcher "fitz-bew", twice]. And a third voice has a galloping rhythm [Brisk Common Yellowthroat song].
So who are these three marsh birds we’ve been sorting out? The brassy voice belongs to a Red-winged Blackbird [Red-winged Blackbird song]. A Willow Flycatcher made that sneezy “FITZ! bew” [Willow Flycatcher “fitz-bew,”]. And the repeated, galloping phrases? [Brisk Common Yellowthroat song] That’s the song of a Common Yellowthroat.
Birds’ voices are an invitation. They invite us to get to know the singers better. And for a moment to step into nature. Listen again, anytime, at I’m Michael Stein.
[Red-winged Blackbird song]


Listen to the full BirdNote show, "Voices and Vocabularies - The Basics" >>



Tree Swallow © Mike Hamilton

Tree Swallows March North
Written by Bob Sundstrom 

And now, a BirdNote Moment!
[Rapid series of male Tree Swallow’s song-like notes]
Every March, a vast, glittering blue wave sweeps northward across the North American continent. It is the annual spring migration of Tree Swallows. Millions of Tree Swallows.
[Rapid series of male Tree Swallow’s song-like notes]
Tree Swallows rank among the earliest northbound migrants, aided by their ability to subsist on berries during cold spells.
But something else motivates the Tree Swallows’ northward push against the cold edge of winter: their choice of nest sites. They nest only in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or man-made nestboxes. The supply of such specialized nest sites is limited, and competition is intense. Tree Swallows happily take to nestboxes. Learn how to build one – or where to buy one – when you come to our website,
[Rapid series of male Tree Swallow’s song-like notes]


Listen to the full BirdNote show, "Tree Swallows March North" >>



Winter Wren © Joanne Kamo

Winter Wren in a Carolina Cathedral
Featuring Gordon Hempton
Interview by Todd and Chris Peterson

And now, a BirdNote Moment.
[Eastern Winter Wren recorded up close in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest]
Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, records the sounds of nature in pristine places.
“It’s not about the sound. It’s about the place… I heard this Eastern Winter Wren singing in the Joyce Memorial Forest in the Carolinas…and I immediately fell in love with his song.”
[Eastern Winter Wren recorded at a distance, in the ‘cathedral’ of the forest]
“I get the recording and I asked myself, “How come it sounds so much better at a distance?” And it’s because the old growth forest actually sweetens the sound… ’Cause you need that space, those acoustics to sweeten, to bring it into true music for you.”
[Eastern Winter Wren recorded at a distance, in the ‘cathedral’ of the forest]
Gordon Hempton provided the recordings courtesy of
[Fade out Winter Wren]


Listen to the full BirdNote show, "Winter Wren in a Carolina Cathedral" >>

Credits for all four BirdNote Moments

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Pair of King Penguins calling [42302] and sounds of colony of King Penguins [42291] recorded by Ted Parker III. Red-winged Blackbird #57196 recorded by W.W.H. Gunn. Willow Flycatcher #129025 recorded by M.J. Anderson. Ambient and Common Yellowthroat #163344 recorded by Matthew Medler. Tree Swallow recorded by G.F. Budney

"Winter Wren" soundscapes recorded by Gordon Hempton and provided courtesy of Eastern Winter Wren recorded at Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in North Carolina.

Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to  -  March 2014

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