Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.


State of the Birds

The Drumming of the Ruffed Grouse

A male Ruffed Grouse performs his drumming display on a resonant, fallen log in the shelter of a brushy thicket in the forest. Drumming announces a male's territory and his desire for a mate. Ruffed Grouse thrive in young forests. Wildfires once created that type of habitat. Today, wise forest... read more »

Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Counting Kirtland's Warblers - Interview with Karen Markey

Learn about one of the first species to be listed as endangered after Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act in 1973: The Kirtland's Warbler. Karen Markey and others make an annual census of the birds, to help federal and state agencies determine how well the recovery plan for the warblers... read more »


Pinyon Jay

Pinyon Jays take their name from pinyon pines. Extracting the seeds from cones, the jays fill their throats. Then they fly to a caching site, sometimes miles away, to push each seed into the leaf litter. Collectively, they cache millions of seeds, some of which sprout before they can be eaten.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  gardening

Northern Pintail - Elegance and Decline

In recent years, unlike many other North American ducks, Northern Pintails present a portrait of sharp decline. Pintails nest in grasslands near seasonal wetlands. Increasingly, these grasslands are being plowed up to grow crops such as corn. But people who love pintails are responding. Ducks... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting

Restoring Native Prairie

Across the country, native prairie occupies only small fragments of its former range. On Washington's Whidbey Island, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust is restoring a remnant prairie. Land Steward Cheryl Lowe explains: "We're planting 23 different species of native prairie plants." As the prairie... read more »

Topics & Themes:  gardening

Rare Sounds Saved by Macaulay Library

The tranquil song of the Kaua'i O'o graced the high, dense forests of Kaua'i until 1987, when it was heard no more. The voice of only one member of this family of birds, now all extinct, remains immortalized on tape. The Macaulay Library maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Lights Out Toronto - Saving Birds

Urban light creates a fatal attraction and disorients migrating birds, which often fly around until exhausted and drop to the ground. Or they may strike a building or window. To prevent these needless deaths, the city of Toronto has created a "Lights Out Toronto" program. Lights go out in city... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Mono Lake - Seeking a Balance

More than 1.5 million Eared Grebes, 30% of the North American population, gather at Mono Lake each fall. But as late as the 1990s, the lake was gravely threatened by the diversion of its water to Los Angeles. After years of court battles, Los Angeles, the lake's advocates, and concerned... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Ecosystem Engineers on America's Serengeti

Some birds require habitats created by other animals. Two such landscape shapers were the American bison and the prairie dog. With the extermination of millions of bison and prairie dogs, species such as this Mountain Plover and the Burrowing Owl, which require barren ground, greatly declined.... read more »


Peregrine Comeback

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which came out in 1962, linked the pesticide DDT to the decline of many birds, including songbirds. But Peregrine Falcons and other raptors had declined, too. When the birds ingested DDT, it caused their eggshells to thin and break under the weight of the incubating... read more »