Welcome to BirdNote!

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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Shows With Contributions by Michael Stein

Short-toed Snake-Eagle

Snake-Eagles Are Awesome

When a soaring Short-toed Snake-Eagle spots a delicious snake, it swoops down, grabs it with its talons, then tears off the snake’s head. Still on the wing, it swallows the entire snake, head first. Smaller than Bald Eagles, they live mainly in Africa and have legs and toes covered in…
Long-billed Curlews

Beaks and Bills

A bird’s bill is an incredible multi-tool — good for preening feathers, building a nest, self-defense, scratching, displaying, building a nest, and egg-turning. And a bill must be the right size and shape for the bird’s diet, whether that’s probing for worms, cracking open seeds, or tear…
An American Black Bear looks toward the viewer as it stands between tree trunks and greenery.

Bears at the Bird Feeder

In bear country, food left outside or uncovered trash cans can become irresistible targets for bears looking for a quick snack. But even if you’ve put away any human food, don’t forget about bird feeders. Bears are omnivores and won’t hesitate to grab a bird seed snack. The New York State…
A flock of geese flying in V formation across a partly cloudy sky

Geese in V-formation

Autumn…and geese fly high overhead in V-formation. But what about that V-formation, angling outward through the sky? This phenomenon — a kind of synchronized, aerial tailgating — marks the flight of flocks of larger birds, like geese or pelicans. Most observers believe that each bird…
American Robin stands on green grass while pulling a worm up with its beak

A Grandchild’s Song for Robins

Ray Young Bear is a writer, musician and a member of Meskwaki Nation. He considers himself a word collector, writing poetry in both English and Meskwaki, his first language. And he enjoys taking photos of the birds around his home in Iowa. In the spring of 2021, he was spending time with…
A male Surf Scoter floating on water, facing viewer's left

Surf Scoters Stand Out

Surf Scoters are large colorful sea ducks. The male Surf Scoter’s huge red-orange bill with its white and black spots really stands out. It is a great tool for eating hard-shelled mollusks like clams and mussels. Surf Scoters spend the winter along the coastlines of North America. Look at…
Screech Owlet in nestbox

Screech-Owls Go Fishing

Screech-owls are opportunistic diners. In the Pacific Northwest, they’ll prey on small birds, crayfish, large ants, or earthworms. In Arizona, pocket mice and pack rats. And in Ohio, biologists who noticed a fishy smell around Eastern Screech-Owl nest boxes found the remains of dozens of…
A squirrel balances on a metal hook that holds a birdfeeder

BirdNoir: The Squirrel Mafia

In this episode of BirdNoir, the Private Eye hears from his friend Danny, who is having his bird feeders pilfered by a pack of rowdy squirrels. While a determined squirrel thief is hard to stop, the detective gives Danny suggestions on the best ways to foil these clever critters.
Ray Young Bear, a writer and member of the Meskwaki Nation, holding a drum and padded drumstick, with grass and wildflowers in the background.

Ray Young Bear on Meskwaki Spirituality

Ray Young Bear, a writer and member of the Meskwaki Nation, says that birds are important to Meskwaki spirituality. He says the reverence that Meskwaki culture has for birds and other living beings makes it essential to protect them and the places they live. And he wants more people to…
Great Frigatebirds

Frigatebirds - Seabirds That Can't Get Wet

Frigatebirds are seabirds, but one thing you’ll never see is a frigatebird floating on the ocean. Why not? Because their feathers, unlike those of nearly all other seabirds, are not waterproof. Instead, frigatebirds are masters of staying aloft. They soar above the ocean, riding a complex…