Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.


You are here

Shakespeare's Birthday

© Paul Bannick/Peter Price View Large

April 23 is the birthday of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was pretty well acquainted with - among one or two other things - birds. More than forty strut, twitter, shriek, sing, and soar through his works. But the bird he knew as a Robin Redbreast is not the bird we call a "robin" in the United States. Learn more about the American Robin, (seen here on the left), at Cornell's All About Birds. There's more about the European Robin (right) at the RSPB.

Full Transcript



Shakespeare's Birthday, April 23

Written by Frank Corrado

This is BirdNote.

Today we celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare. “Why should we?” you may ask. Well, on the evidence provided in his plays and poems, Shakespeare was pretty well acquainted with birds. More than forty strut, twitter, shriek, sing, and soar through his works:

The Blackbird—the Bunting—the Buzzard—the Chough—the Cock (Rooster)—-Cormorant—Crow—Cuckoo—Dive Dapper—Dove (and Pigeon)—Duck (Mallard)—Eagle—Falcon (and Sparrowhawk)—Finch—Goose—Hedge Sparrow (Dunnock)—House Martin—Jackdaw—Jay—Kite—Lapwing—Lark—Loon—Magpie—Nightingale—Osprey—Ostrich—Owl—Parrot—Partridge—Peacock—Pelican—Pheasant—Quail—Raven—Robin (Redbreast)—Snipe—Sparrow—Starling—Swallow—Swan—Thrush—Turkey—Vulture—Wagtail—Woodcock—and Wren.

“There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow," says Hamlet towards the end of the play. "If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.”

For BirdNote, I'm Michael Stein.


Song of the European Starling provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer:  John Kessler
Executive Producer:  Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to     April 2015    Narrator: Michael Stein / Frank Corrado

ID# 042307shakesKPLU          shakespeare-01b

Sights & Sounds


By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Related topics:

Related field notes: