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Eavesdropping on Babies

"I'm over here! Feed me. FEED ME!"

Around this time of year, many baby birds are begging their parents for food. A Hairy Woodpecker chick calls from its nest carved deep within a dying tree. A Great Horned Owl juvenile reminds his parents "Hey! I'm over here! Feed me!" Moving from forest to water, we find this American Coot chick hoping to be fed by its parent. Follow the development of a baby coot "From Cute to Coot," photos by Joyce Cory.

Full Transcript



Eavesdropping On Babies

Written by Chris Peterson

This is BirdNote!

Around this time of year, many baby birds are begging their parents for food. Let’s eavesdrop on a few: [Hairy Woodpecker chick begging at nest]

That’s a Hairy Woodpecker chick in its nest cavity deep within a dying tree.


Now these are Red-breasted Sapsucker chicks, calling from their nest.

[Red-breasted Sapsucker chick begging calls]

(Whisper) As adults, sapsuckers are usually pretty quiet.   

Let’s move from forest to water, to hear an American Coot chick and its parent. Listen for the puk calls of the adult.

[American Coot chick calls and puk calls of an adult]

This next one? [Calls of the Sora chick]

That’s a Sora chick, hidden among the reeds in a marsh.

[Emphasize the marshy habitat]

Nestlings and fledglings lucky enough to survive the perils of youth become juveniles.

And if you’re lucky, come July or August, [sounds of night] you could be startled by this sound in the night!

[Great Horned Owl fledgling begging call] 

That’s a Great Horned Owl juvenile reminding his parents “Hey! I’m over here! Feed me!” The parents are ignoring these entreaties. They’ve done their job! It’s time for the young owl to feed itself. “No, no! Feed me!”

[Repeat Great Horned Owl fledgling begging call]

Today’s sounds were recorded by talented, intrepid audio-recordists and provided by the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. [Hoot of adult Great Horned Owl]


Calls of the birds are provided by the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.   Hairy Woodpecker chick begging at nest (ML 107606) and Red-breasted Sapsucker chick begging calls from the nest (ML 47587) recorded by D.S. Herr. American Coot chick calls and ‘puk’ calls of an adult (ML 43004) W.W.H.Gunn.  Calls of the Sora chick ML26429 recorded by S.E. Cosens . Great Horned Owl fledgling begging call ML50544 recorded by D.S. Herr.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2013 Tune In to   June 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann              

 ID# baby-03-2009-06-03-MM baby-03b

Sights & Sounds

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