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East

New Sam Peabody

In late winter, White-throated Sparrows erupt into song, easily set to human words: “Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody.” Or “Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.” But something changed since those classic memory aids were coined. Sixty years later, the bird sings a simpler, shorter song. Bird song,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Phoebe and the Pewee

The Eastern Phoebe (pictured here) is one of the most familiar flycatchers east of the Rockies. Because the Eastern Phoebe repeats its name when it sings, it’s a pretty straightforward voice to identify and remember. But there’s another flycatcher east of the Rockies that whistles its name over... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Purple Martins Change Their Habits

While Purple Martins west of the Rockies will happily nest in an old woodpecker hole, Purple Martins east of the Rockies rarely nest in natural cavities. Instead, they nest in birdhouses provided by humans. They depend on people to a huge extent and thrive close by their homes. People, in turn,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction, nesting

Common Raven - The world's largest perching bird

Eric Dinerstein shares these reflections on the Common Ravens that live near Cabin John, Maryland.By October, most of the birds that breed in the East have taken wing to warmer climes — South Carolina, Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, or even the Peruvian Amazon — to pass the winter in... read more »

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"Thanks for Making Us Play Outside!"

As a young boy, David Sibley often explored the outdoors with his father. He recalls turning over logs to look for mole crickets, identifying plants, and watching for birds. We asked David for ways to encourage children to connect with nature: “My advice to other parents is just to get outdoors,”... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

The Most Gorgeous Bird in North America

“Do you hear that bird singing high in the tree?” I asked my wife. “The one that sounds like a robin with a sore throat?” By May, after the oaks have leafed out in the deep forests of the East, the best way to spot the most gorgeous bird in North America is to listen for it. Once I located the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding

Scarlet Tanagers Under the Canopy

In summer, the forests of the eastern United States are home to a bounty of birds, including this gorgeous Scarlet Tanager, which spends most of the year in tropical South America. The male’s body is a dazzling red, in contrast to his black wings and tail. It seems that these boldly colored birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching, plumage

The Baltimore Oriole

Not all blackbirds are mostly black. This Baltimore Oriole is orange! It’s named after Sir George Calvert, First Lord of Baltimore, whose coat-of-arms carried a gold and black design. In spring and summer, you may see these orioles in the Midwest and eastern US, lighting up the trees where they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding, nesting, plumage

Wood Ducks on the Potomac

Wild, undammed rivers make dangerous neighbors. A sign-board near the riverbank at one of the entrances to Potomac National Park offers direct evidence of the river’s perils — 57 drownings in ten years between Great Falls and Little Falls — about an 11-mile stretch.The Potomac seems most fearsome... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Tufted Titmouse - What's in a Name?

A Tufted Titmouse has just about everything you could ask for in a backyard bird. Petite and strikingly elegant, it’s as perky as a chickadee. In fact, it’s a cousin to the chickadee.  And as it comes boldly to your seed or suet feeders, the Tufted Titmouse will even hang upside down like an... read more »

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