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Shows With Contributions by Frances Wood

The Song of the Canyon Wren

The Canyon Wren makes its home on the steep rocky outcrops and vertical stone cliffs of the coulees and mesas of the West. The birds are found from Mexico all the way through southern British Columbia. They live among the rocks all year long, nesting in rock piles and beneath overhangs, their... read more »

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From Egg-laying to Hatching and Beyond

Waterfowl like this Muscovy duckling spend up to 30 days in the egg, so they’re able to walk, swim, and feed themselves as soon as they hatch. We call these chicks precocial. By contrast, the chicks of most songbirds spend less time maturing in the egg. They must continue to develop in the nest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, ornithology

American Robin, Valiant Challenger

The male American Robin - fiercely territorial - belts out its distinctive cheery song to defend its breeding territory from invasion by other robins. Sometimes, the robin sees its own reflection as an interloper and challenges the “invader” over and over, even to the point of exhaustion or... read more »

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Burrowing Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher dashes through the air, warning intruders with its rapid-fire, rattling call. In spring, the best places to see Belted Kingfishers are along sandy banks -- they are busy digging burrows, where they will nest. The holes typically reach three to six feet into the bank, but... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Birds Dress for Spring

It's spring! And for many birds, a time to look their best to attract a new mate. This American Goldfinch has recently molted. Its old, worn-down feathers have fallen out, and new ones have grown in. When goldfinches molt in the fall, they lose these brightly colored feathers. Their winter... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Rivers of Birds

One of the world champions of long-distance migration is the Arctic Tern. Arctic Terns nest across the far northern reaches of the continent during our summer, then fly south to Antarctica for the rest of the year. Some will circle the polar ice-pack before heading north again, completing a total... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Dawn Song - Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock..." As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection, vocalization

Hummingbirds Are Mighty Puffballs

What bird can fly straight up and down, backward and forward, and even upside down? A hummingbird can do all this -- and fly up to 75 miles an hour. And most amazing of all? This bird can slow from 25 miles an hour to a dead stop in a space no longer than your index finger! Learn more about this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight

Great Horned Owl Duet

The 22-inch Great Horned Owl has two tufts of feathers that stick up from the top of its head. This owl is difficult to see, but it's often heard during dark winter evenings and pre-dawn mornings. A pair of owls may call back and forth or overlap their hoots. The male's call is slightly lower in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

A Crossbill's Beak Does the Job

A close look at this Red Crossbill reveals a curious adaptation. The long tips of the upper and lower bill don't meet, but instead cross over each other. The Red Crossbill bites between the scales of a cone and pries them apart by opening its bill, then dislodges the seed with its tongue. Red... read more »

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