Welcome to BirdNote!

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.

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Shows With Contributions by Pat Hemlepp

Blue Jay facing forward, looking to its right. Pale gray breast with light and dark blue markings on head and wings.

Meet the Blue Jay

If we had to pick one bird’s voice to symbolize our Eastern woodlands, the Blue Jay’s voice would likely be it. And as a frequent visitor to back yards and bird feeders, the Blue Jay is among the most recognized birds of the region. Nearly a foot long, Blue Jays can be loud and assertive…
Field Sparrow

July before Dawn - Aldo Leopold

The song of this Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his Wisconsin farm in the 1940s. Sadly, Field Sparrow populations are declining rapidly. You can learn more about "The State of the Birds" from National Audubon, and the plight of the Field Sparrow in…
Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The…
Gray Catbird

Sitting in the Catbird Seat

Longtime baseball announcer Red Barber often described a player in a winning situation as "sitting in the catbird seat." So what is "sitting in the catbird seat"? And what is a catbird? The Gray Catbird is a cousin of the mockingbird, and it does sound a little like a cat. During breeding…
Cardinal (bottom) and Vireo (top)

Listeners' Stories: Cardinal and Vireo

BirdNote listener, Betsy MacGregor, talks about finding solace in the company of birds. First a bird of the eastern US, a Northern Cardinal, and then a Hutton's Vireo, a bird of the West. The cardinal creates its pure whistle by producing sound in its left and right bronchial tubes…