Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

American Robin fledgling sitting on a branch

Baby Birds Move Out of the Nest

After they leave the nest but before they take flight, many baby birds - especially robins and flickers - spend time on or near the ground. If you see such a baby bird, and your first thought is to "rescue" it, the better thing to do is let it be. Protect it from cats. Then watch from a
A male Common Yellowthroat clasping a vertical branch and looking to his right. His black mask and bright yellow throat and breast are sunlit.

International Migratory Bird Laws

In May, we celebrate migratory birds, including this Common Yellowthroat. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 gave much needed protection to birds, especially migratory songbirds. In 1940, the US and 17 other countries throughout the Americas signed a pact to "protect and preserve - in
Photo comparing a Brown Creeper and a White-breasted Nuthatch

Watching Birds' Behavior

To distinguish one bird from a similar one, watch how the bird moves. Does it flick its wings? Bob up and down? Flip its tail? The White-breasted Nuthatch (right) works its way down the trunk of a tree, while the Brown Creeper works its way up. A field guide usually mentions these
Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet - The Christmas Tree Owl

Christmas tree plantations may not be the best habitat for wild birds, but they do hold an attraction - for Northern Saw-Whet Owls. These miniature owls seem to feel at home in the small evergreens. And when the birds are spotted, they're most likely to remain motionless rather than fly
American Crow and chips

Crows and Chips

Crows didn't get where they are today by being shy or slow. They take advantage of whatever food they find, where and when they find it. Listener Jerry Campbell told his story of one crow making off with three chips. Be sure to watch the video of another clever crow in Japan -- in Sights
Woody Woodpecker and an Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

He doesn't sound exactly like Woody Woodpecker, but the Acorn Woodpecker was probably the model for the cartoon character. The story goes that Walter Lantz and his new bride, Grace, were on their honeymoon in a cabin in California. A racket on their roof drew them outside, where they
King Penguins

Happy Birthday, Roger Tory Peterson

August 28th is the birth anniversary of Roger Tory Peterson. He was born in 1908 and died in 1996. RTP, as he was known, wrote A Field Guide to the Birds. His favorite bird? The King Penguin. He explains his fascination with birds: "...They are attractive, they sound off with spirit, and
Crows and gulls at the shore

The Crow and the Gull

Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. It seems that crows and gulls are
American crow

Crow Parents, Fearless Defenders

Although the American Crow may seem blasé about pillaging another bird's nest, it regards a threat to its own young as a punishable offense. To protect their nest, adult crows dive-bomb people, cats, and other animals, and even other birds. Young crows fledge when they are around five or
Peregrine falcon with her chicks

Mother Birds

Happy Mother's Day, from the whole BirdNote team! Avian motherhood is a mixed bag. Peregrine Falcon mothers share duties fairly equally with Peregrine dads. At the other end of the spectrum is the female hummingbird, which usually carries the entire burden of nesting, incubating, and