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Field Notes

Nature's Goggles - Nictitating Membranes

They're there and then they're gone — literally in the blink of an eye!The nictitating membrane is a “third eyelid” that extends from the inner corner of the eye to the outer corner. You may see it when a bird (like this Black Vulture) – or certain other creature – blinks. Thinner and more... read more »

Topics & Themes:  photography, science

BirdNote Turns 15!

On February 21, 2005, BirdNote first took flight!15 years and 1500 shows later, we're still delighting listeners around the world with stories of inspiration and hope. During this special anniversary, we honor the people who launched the program, nurtured its growth, and continue making... read more »

Tweets 'n' Squawks: Learn How to Identify Birds by Song

Nothing signals spring quite like singing birds. As the length of days increase, male birds begin to sing to protect their territories from neighboring males and advertise their presence to nearby females. In spring, those males are vibrantly colored and may be easy to see, because they... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound, vocalization

Cedar Waxwing Fledglings

Cedar Waxwings eat predominantly fruit, especially in winter. As is the case with fruit-eaters, their distribution is unpredictable and largely dependent on the location and abundance of fruiting plants like serviceberry and mulberry (in summer) and mistletoe and madrone (in winter). Their... read more »

Topics & Themes:  photography

Cedar Waxwings - Berry Gobblers

On a winter day early in the new year, Gregg Thompson found Cedar Waxwings busy at a favorite job - eating berries. He took full advantage of a break in the weather with good light to catch the birds stuffing themselves. Gregg describes them, ". . . just a lot of gobbling. Man, these guys can... read more »

Topics & Themes:  photography

A Trick of the Light . . .

Anna's Hummingbirds sparkle with iridescence... with their emerald green back and hot pink throats — known as gorgets. But wait! Catch them in a certain light, and the sparkle goes away, or entirely new and vibrant colors appear. The microscopic structure of the feather barbules — not pigments —... read more »

Topics & Themes:  plumage

Crows and Ravens - Who's Who? Let's figure it out!

Out of the 810 species of North American birds, only crows and ravens are completely black. But they have much more in common than color. Along with their cousins, the magpies and jays, they’re among the smartest birds on the planet. But which is which? And who’s smarter? Let's check it out. And... read more »

Topics & Themes:  birding

Pileated Woodpecker roosting holes

Photographer Gregg Thompson had a stroke of good fortune. He wrote:In late September, I noticed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers on this tree trunk. It was too late in the year for them to have any chicks, and after I read a bit, I decided this was a roosting tree. It could have been a nesting site... read more »


Celebrating "National Wildlife Refuge Week"

National Wildlife Refuge Week - October 13 - 19, 2019White Reddish Egret © Joanne KamoGreen Jay     © Joanne KamoThe Green Jays of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge - Listen NowPectoral Sandpiper     © Joanne KamoThe Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -... read more »

South African Adventure, September 27 - October 14, 2020

Join us for 18 days of wildlife viewing and cultural attractions!Travel to South Africa with BirdNote during the best time of year: the transition into spring and early summer. Visit the Greater Kruger Conservancy to see iconic animals and birdsEnjoy special excursions to observe whales,... read more »