Image: The Ultimate Bird Drawing Throwdown Showdown Graphic featuring images of David Sibley and H. Jon Benjamin

Join BirdNote tomorrow, November 30th!

Illustrator David Sibley and actor H. Jon Benjamin will face off in the bird illustration battle of the century during BirdNote's Year-end Celebration and Auction!


Shows With Contributions by Phil Hauck

A pair of Indigo Bunting, one perched on a branch, the other taking flight, both showing their vivid blue feathers

Birding 101: The Fear of Getting Started

For folks looking to try birding for the first time, getting started can be daunting. Should you learn every species’ call, every subtle feather pattern before you head out to look for birds? While it’s good to prepare, there’s a risk of scaring yourself out of starting, and preventing the…
A Piping Plover, its head tilted to look skyward, stands on a beach while sunlight casts it shadow beneath it.

Seeing a Chicago Beach in a New Way

Mikko Jimenez is a PhD student doing research on bird migration. Growing up in Chicago, he played beach volleyball at Montrose Beach, a popular spot on the lake shore. At the time, he wasn’t so aware of birds, but as he developed an interest in birding in college, he realized that his old…
A male Bobolink seen in profile clinging to a slender reed and singing

Greater Chicago’s Bird Diversity

Judy Pollock, the founding president of the Bird Conservation Network, says the Chicago area is crucial to birds, and has a grassroots conservation movement that supports many nature preserves. With a team of more than 200 volunteers, the Bird Conservation Network conducted 22 years of…
A small light brown and buff-colored bird sings while perched on a delicate branch.

Listening in on Birds

Collecting data on wild birds is crucial for their conservation. But it requires huge amounts of effort. One way to help streamline the process is with gizmos called autonomous recording units, or ARUs. For days or months, these recording devices eavesdrop on the environment around them…
Killdeer doing a broken wing distraction

Killdeer, Master of Distraction

Since Killdeer don’t always pick the safest places to lay their eggs, they’ve developed a clever way to protect their young. They use the art of distraction. When it spots a predator close by, the Kildeer parent will pretend it has a broken wing - calling loudly and limping along as it…
Henslow's Sparrow singing, seen in right profile as it perches on a grass stem

From Simple to Complex Bird Sounds

Explore how bird songs increase in complexity from the guttural hiss of a Turkey Vulture, to the short songs of Henslow’s Sparrows, and to the elaborate song repertoire of the Brown Thrasher. This show was produced by World According to Sound. BirdNote and World According to Sound are…
A male Bobolink singing in the sunshine


Washington Irving called the Bobolink "the happiest bird of our spring...he rises and sinks with the breeze, pours forth a succession of rich tinkling notes ..." Bobolinks nest in hayfields and grasslands, returning north each spring, all the way from southern South America. Listen to more…
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…
Female Red-winged Blackbird perched on a stem, her head turned toward her right shoulder

Female Blackbirds Choose Their Mates

One male Red-winged Blackbird’s marshland territory may include five—or even as many as fifteen—nesting females. And he makes an effort to mate with every one of them. Biologists call this polygyny - when one male claims breeding rights with multiple females. But while this may look like…
Chestnut-sided Warbler

The Magic Hedge

In the 1950s, the U.S. Army leased land along Lake Michigan, outside of Chicago, to build a fort. They planted honeysuckle bushes to shield it from view. By the ‘70s the army had left, but the honeysuckle stayed. Birds (like this Chestnut-sided Warbler) began to flock to this hedge by the…