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Amazing Feet

What looks like feet on a bird are actually its toes. That backward-looking knee is more like an ankle. A bird’s feet are suited to its unique way of living. Eagles capture live prey with long talons, while water birds use webbed feet to guide and propel themselves. And ostriches have two massive... read more »

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BirdNote Gallery

Hoopoe

New photos every week! Check out the gallery. This Eurasian Hoopoe courtesy of PeiWen Chang.

Ben Mirin, Interview with D.J. Ecotone

Sound artist and wildlife DJ, Ben Mirin, travels the world collecting the sounds of nature. His energy is incredible. Ben, better known as DJ Ecotone, takes the sounds he finds and remixes them into frenetic, electronic compositions.So when BirdNote realized we needed a new piece of music to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, recording

The Vampire Finch

Vampire Ground-Finches menace their victims in broad daylight, stabbing holes in their flesh, then devouring the blood. During the dry season, when their usual diet of seeds can be scarce, they turn to large seabirds, like boobies. Fluttering onto a booby’s back, the finch jabs its sharp beak in... read more »

Who Likes Suet?

Chickadees and titmice, nuthatches and jays, and woodpeckers, like the Pileated pictured here, all love suet. As do birds whose beaks can’t open seeds, like tiny kinglets, and almost any wintering warbler. The Brown Creeper, usually creeping up tree trunks, is a cool bird to discover at your suet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

Starlings Say It With Flowers

European Starlings regularly adorn their twig nests with marigolds, elderberry flowers, yarrow leaves, and even willow bark — all of which are full of aromatic chemicals, which fumigate their nests and are thought to discourage pests and parasites. Scientists discovered that starlings hatched in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Ulm Sparrows

As an old story from Germany goes, workers building the world’s tallest church were preparing to install an immensely long beam, but they couldn’t get it through the city gate. Preparing to dismantle the city wall to clear a path to the construction site, workers saw a House Sparrow carry a long... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history

Seagull Calling Contest

There are more than two dozen species of gulls living in North America. Some people might dismiss them as just “seagulls.” But not the people of Port Orchard, a small town on Washington State’s Puget Sound. Each year, hundreds of people gather at the town’s waterfront in late May for the annual... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  festival, humor, vocalization

Here Come the Merlins

Smaller than a pigeon — but fierce enough to knock one from the air — are the powerful, compact falcons known as Merlins. Climate change is pushing ranges of many birds farther north, but more and more Merlins have been nesting farther south, in towns and cities across the northern United States.... read more »

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