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Shows With Contributions by Frances Wood

Green Birds on St. Patrick's Day

You'd think that with so much green in nature, many birds would be a'wearin' the green for camouflage. Not just on St. Patrick's Day, but every day. Yet very few of our birds cavort in Irish green. There be some wee exceptions, however - some of the hummingbirds, with their backs of bright green,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Those Raucous Jays

A raucous call and a bold flash of blue at your feeder means a jay has arrived. East of the Rockies, your visitor is quite likely a Blue Jay (left). Out west, you're probably seeing a Steller's Jay. These daring blue dandies sound the alarm, announcing the approach of a predator. Often the loud... read more »

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European Starling Nightmare

You can find European Starlings in huge flocks from coast to coast, and from Northern Canada deep into Mexico. Yet not one of these iridescent-black, yellow-billed starlings is native to the Americas. One hundred starlings were released in Central Park in New York City in 1890. From that small,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

American Kestrel

The American Kestrel is the smallest, most numerous, and most widespread North American falcon. This bird is built for speed, its long pointed wings often bent back at the tip. While hunting, kestrels hover above an open field. These days, the lack of suitable nesting cavities, which limits... read more »

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Flocking and Foraging

In winter, a foraging flock might include several species of birds: chickadees, kinglets, and even a Downy Woodpecker. Many bird species eat alone, so you might wonder why these birds have chosen to dine together. Different species foraging in a group to find food enhances the success of all. One... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Regal Great Blue Heron

Tall and prehistoric-looking, the Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America. Great Blue Herons are often seen flying high overhead with slow wing-beats. When foraging, they stand silently along riverbanks, on lake shores, or in wet meadows. Quickly then, they stab at their prey.... read more »

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Storks and Babies

Storks and babies have been linked together for centuries. But how did that old legend get started? Researchers suggest that the legend goes back to pagan times, when civilizations were keen to have high birthrates. The myth of storks and babies was forged by the birds' return in spring, when... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, human interaction

Why Birds Stand on One Leg

Birds' legs have an adaptation called "rete mirabile" that minimizes heat loss. The arteries that transport warm blood into the legs lie in contact with the veins that return colder blood to the bird's heart. The arteries warm the veins. Because the veins also cool the arteries, the bird’s feet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

The Wild Turkey - One Well-Traveled Bird

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 with... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Return of the Snowbird

You may see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer, but come fall, many more — those that have been nesting in the mountains or farther north — arrive to spend the winter. These juncos often visit birdfeeders for winter feasting. Dark-eyed Juncos forage on the ground. The flash of white tail-feathers... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

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