Shows With Contributions by John Kessler

Green Budgie

Birds Talk, People Squawk

Darvin Gebhart is a champion goose-caller. But there are also birds that use human language. Sparkie Williams was a famous parakeet, or budgerigar, that lived in England in the 1950s. He recorded commercials for bird seed and released his own hit single "Pretty Talk." Alex, the African…
Close up of Ostrich looking into the camera

Consider the Ostrich

The flightless Ostrich is a bird of superlatives. It's the largest and tallest bird on the planet, growing to maybe eight feet tall, and weighing 250 pounds! It's also the fastest creature on two legs, capable of running at 40 miles an hour. Ostriches have never been observed to stick…
Tweety Bird illustration

Tweety Bird

Do you recall when you were a young Saturday-morning birdwatcher, learning the intricate lessons of predator-prey relationships? Twitiavis superciliosis is a small, animated yellow bird, native to Southern California. It's particularly susceptible to predation, and so has developed a…
Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebes - With Martin Muller

Birds, while guided by instinct, seem able to adapt to specific situations. Martin Muller is an expert on waterbirds called Pied-billed Grebes. One spring day, on an urban lake in Seattle, Martin observed a pair of grebes switching roles in order to protect their young and defend their…
Yoho National Park at Sunrise

Our Solar-Powered Jukebox

In the season finale of Sound Escapes, acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton takes us on a whirlwind tour of nearly every habitat on the planet. From tropical forests to deserts to wetlands, you'll hear what the Earth truly is: music spinning in an otherwise silent space. Thank you for joining…
A slow, burbeling brook

Mark Twain's Limpid Brook

“By modern standards, Mark Twain was really a switched-on listener,” says our Sound Escapes host, Gordon Hempton. “He brilliantly used sound in the crafting of his novels. Birds would sing at the right time of day and in the right situations. He would use thunderstorms to mark the…
A canoe on the shore at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota

Song of the Paddle

After a long winter in northern Minnesota, everything seems to awaken at once. From the songs of migratory birds to the croaks of frogs and toads, we can witness a wonderful rejuvenation. In this episode of Sound Escapes, paddle a canoe through Voyageurs National Park alongside Gordon…
Pipestone Canyon in Eastern Washington State

The Poetics of Space

This week’s episode of Sound Escapes takes us to Pipestone Canyon in Eastern Washington, where you can hear a ridgetop wind come from a mile away. Here, you can not only listen to coyotes in the distance, but also how the coyote waves as it passes through the canyon: a form of dimensional…
A wildebeast walks across the savanna

Kalahari Sunrise

In this week’s episode of Sound Escapes, experience dawn in the Kalahari Desert as the sun rises over the sandy savannah of southern Africa. It’s nearly level at this part of the Kalahari Desert. The trees are widely spaced. There’s almost no available water. You cannot see very far — the…
Water rushes over Yosemite Falls

John Muir's Yosemite

“Water makes every sound imaginable and occupies every frequency audible to the human ear and certainly spans the dynamic range from the faintest sound to near distortion,” says Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker. The writings of John Muir can guide our ears, as we listen to the water music…