Shows With Contributions by Mick Thompson

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whet Owls Hoot and Hoot

Northern Saw-whet Owls are common in forests across southern Canada and the northern U.S. In early autumn, many move southward, making a large concentration especially in the region of the Great Lakes. To our ear, the "advertising call" of the male, made mostly in spring and summer, sounds
Pacific Golden-Plover

A Plover's Journey

Pacific Golden-Plovers, known as Kolea, winter in grassy, open areas of the Hawaiian islands by the tens of thousands. The birds return each fall to the same patch. Kolea spend nine months in Hawaii, but by late April, they form large flocks and head north, over the Pacific Ocean to, as
Black Phoebe by Mick Thompson

Two Phoebes Share the West

In the American West, there are two species of phoebe that share the same expansive country. But they occupy different habitats. The Say’s Phoebe prefers dry, open country ranging from tundra to desert. This Black Phoebe is a close cousin to the Say’s. But it is nearly always hunting
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
Anna's Hummingbird drinking from flower

A Natural Feast for Hummingbirds

Hoping to attract hummingbirds to your yard or balcony? One way is to grow native plants. Native plants provide cover, and they offer nectar in spring and summer. They also attract insects, the most important part of a hummingbird’s diet. Just add a source of water for drinking and bathing
Rufous Hummingbird in flight

Hummingbird Migration Myths

Does a hummingbird migrate by hitching a ride on the back of a goose? Not exactly. This Rufous Hummingbird may travel as much as 8,000 miles, as it makes its full migration loop. And a hummingbird can fly backward, forward, hover in one spot, or even flip upside-down momentarily. Learn
Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron Meets T. Rex

The Great Blue Heron is tall and slender with a bill like a sword and the graceful, measured moves of a dancer. And it’s mostly quiet. But when this bird does make noise, it can be downright scary. Support for BirdNote comes from Seattle’s Portage Bay Café & catering. Serving food raised
Marbled Godwit

Why Birds Stand on One Leg

Birds' legs have an adaptation called "rete mirabile" that minimizes heat loss. The arteries that transport warm blood into the legs lie in contact with the veins that return colder blood to the bird's heart. The arteries warm the veins. Because the veins also cool the arteries, the bird’s
Great Gray Owl face

The Eyes of an Owl

Peer into an owl's face – there is something almost human about its large, forward-facing eyes. The Great Gray Owl, which stands two feet tall and weighs 2 and 1/2 pounds, has eyes larger than those of most humans! Enormous eyes enable owls to see in near darkness. An owl's retinal anatomy
Gila Woodpecker nesting in Saguaro cactus

Making a Home Among the Saguaros

In the arid Arizona desert, where cacti thrive but trees are scarce, the Gila Woodpecker and this Gilded Flicker carve out nest cavities in living saguaros. Tall, old saguaros may be pocked with twenty or more nest holes, bearing witness to decades of woodpecker families. The woodpeckers