Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

Eastern Phoebe

The Phoebe and the Pewee

The Eastern Phoebe (pictured here) is one of the most familiar flycatchers east of the Rockies. Because the Eastern Phoebe repeats its name when it sings, it’s a pretty straightforward voice to identify and remember. But there’s another flycatcher east of the Rockies that whistles its name…
Black-throated Sparrow

What Do Desert Birds Drink?

In the desert Southwest, water can be scarce. Yet some birds, like this Black-throated Sparrow, thrive in a scorching landscape. The birds obtain moisture from foods like nectar and fruit, as well as insects and other prey. They tuck into the shade in the heat of the day, so they won’t…
Two shorebirds, one larger than the other, walk together looking at the water they are wading in.

The Pungent Mudflat

On the shore of a saltwater bay, the tide goes out, revealing a broad expanse of dark, glistening mudflat. Mudflats are rich in nutrients, such as decomposing organic matter and minerals. Far from wastelands, mudflats also support a bounty of life including vast quantities of tiny snails…
Burrowing Owl next to burrow

Burrowing Owls Hiss Like a Rattlesnake!

Despite its name, the Burrowing Owl doesn’t do much digging. It’s better known for its hair-raising hiss, which may have evolved to mimic the warning of a cornered rattlesnake. The sonic threat of a venomous reptile could be just enough to warn away most unwanted visitors from the owl’s…
Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk, Uncommon Sound

Swooping and diving through the air on its long slender wings, the Common Nighthawk emerges at dusk to chase down aerial insects. Nighthawks have short bills that open wide, so they can vacuum up their insect prey as they fly along.
A White Stork standing in its nest with three chicks. The parent has a white body, with black on its wings, and red legs and long red beak. The White Stork chicks have dark beaks.

Are Birds Nests Reused?

Let’s talk about nests. Every spring, robins build their cup-shaped nests using grass and mud. Orioles weave a hanging sack. It’s hard work, and yet once the chicks fledge, the structures probably won’t be reused. But bigger birds, such as herons, hawks, and eagles, often reuse a nest for…
A vivid mult-colored Painted Bunting stands in a pool of water

BirdNoir: The One That Got Away

In this episode, the Private Eye tells his saddest story: his nemesis bird. That’s what birders call a species that keeps giving you the slip. His nemesis is the Painted Bunting, a colorful gem of a bird. When word of the species being spotted nearby reaches the PI, he rushes off to see it…
An Island Scrub-Jay, its white and blue plumage gracing a slender body and long tail, stands on sparse grass and dirt.

Island Scrub-Jay

Only the most intrepid birders lay eyes on the striking cobalt feathers of the Island Scrub-Jay. They live exclusively on Santa Cruz Island, which is part of California’s Channel Islands National Park. The species has the smallest range of any bird in North America. The jays have few…
Pied Kingfishers, with black and white plumage and very long black beak, sits perched on a branch.

Most Kingfishers Don't Fish

In North America, kingfishers fish. But in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia, most of the roughly 90 species of kingfishers don’t “fish.” They hunt in woodlands, where the smaller ones, like the four-inch Pygmy Kingfisher, eat grasshoppers and centipedes. Larger kingfishers…
Female Black-backed Woodpecker on tree in burned forest

Woodpeckers and Forest Fires

A forest fire roars along a mountain slope once green with spruce and pines, ignited by a lightning strike late in a Northwest summer. Once the fire has run its course, acres of blackened trunks stand silently against the blue sky. But by next summer, woodpeckers have discovered the…

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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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