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 Sam Johnson

The episode artwork for Threatened: "Hope for the ‘Ua‘u"

Hope for the ‘Ua‘u

We end our season with a little seabird that’s making a comeback. The Hawaiian Petrel, or ‘Ua’u, was once written off as going or gone from the islands. But after recent discoveries of remnant colonies, we see how some human intervention with the right tools can make a huge difference for…
The Threatened episode artwork for "Saving the ʻAlalā"

Saving the ʻAlalā

Hawai‘i has its own species of crow, the clever and charismatic ʻAlalā. But the species hasn’t been able to survive in its shrinking native habitat. The only reason the ʻAlalā still exists is because of captive breeding programs. Reintroducing them to the wild is fraught with challenges…
The episode illustrative graphic for Threatened: Rewriting the Story of Extinction

Rewriting the Story of Extinction

In 1823, a young princess was presented with an incredible gift, and a choice: protect the Native Hawaiian way of life, or embrace the teachings of newcomers. Today, the gift resides in a museum, and its story tells of tragedy and hope, the duality of life, and maybe a different…
The episode illustrative graphic for Threatened: The Mosquito Problem

The Mosquito Problem

How do you fight a disease carried by mosquitoes as climate change helps them spread? Avian malaria could wipe out whole species of birds, and people are going to great lengths to stop it. There’s hope on the horizon. Scientists believe they have a way to wipe out the mosquitos first. But…
The episode artwork for Threatened: Protecting Palila.

Protecting Palila

In the season premiere we travel to Hawai‘i to meet a unique group of birds called honeycreepers. There were once over 55 species of honeycreepers, but over half of them have gone extinct. One of them, the Palila, is still holding on. What do we need to do to protect it?
A graphic with the Bring Birds Back artwork on the right side, a photo of Ashley C. Ford in the top-left corner, and a photo of Tracy Clayton in the bottom-left corner.

Bird Heroes

Tenijah has been on a birding journey since she was drawn into bird watching at the start of the pandemic — and now, she’s inspiring new birders with Bring Birds Back. For our season finale, Tenijah talks to two of the heroes who inspired her: Tracy Clayton and Ashley C. Ford. They’re…
A graphic with the Bring Birds Back artwork on the right side, a group photo of Tenijah with a birding group in the top-left corner, and a photo of Freya McGregor in the bottom-left corner.

Birding is for Every Body

People with disabilities often face barriers to birding. These can be infrastructural and cultural. The organization Birdability is addressing those barriers by raising awareness, crowdsourcing information on what trails and birding spots are already accessible (or what other locations…
A graphic with the Bring Birds Back artwork on the right side, a headshot of Martha Harbison in the top-left corner, and a photo of David Lei in the bottom-left corner.

How to Be a More Ethical Birder

Since her bird journey began, Tenijah’s been learning how to be a better birder —but not just with new birding skills. There’s also the important lesson of how to be an “ethical birder” or treating the birds with respect. Tenijah talks to writer Martha Harbison about “the rules” of birding…
A graphic with the Bring Birds Back artwork on the right side, a headshot of Kasia Chmielinski in the top-left corner, and a photo of Jeana Fucello in the bottom-left corner.

Finding Your Flock

If we want as many people caring for birds as possible, we need people to not only become interested, but to have mentorship and community available for them. Tenijah speaks with Jeana Fucello and Kasia Chmielinski from the Feminist Bird Club, a birding group centered around being an…
A graphic with the Bring Birds Back artwork on the right side, a headshot of Joe Siegrist in the top-left corner, and a photo of Kieran MacDonald in the bottom-left corner.

The Past, Present, and Future of Purple Martins

Purple Martins and people have a long history. Native Americans started a practice of providing homes for the birds, which was copied by European colonizers. But those colonizers released invasive species and cleared habitats to the point that the species is entirely reliant on man-made…