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humor

Limerick Day

May 12 is Limerick Day, the birthday of Edward Lear, author of nonsense verse and limericks. In honor of the day, a limerick written by Dixon Lanier Merritt in 1910: A wonderful bird is the pelican. His bill will hold more than his belican. He can take in his beak, Food enough for a week, I'm... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Bird Songs Go to Hollywood

Movie-makers love to add bird sounds to a film, to evoke a mood or set a scene. For all the attention to some details though, nature's details often get a little mixed up... like an Australian Laughing Kookaburra guffawing in the depths of the Florida Everglades? For a jungle sound, it's hard to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood, humor, vocalization

Donald Duck

Today, we celebrate Donald Fauntleroy Duck, first sighted in Hollywood in 1934. Despite nearly 80 years on the big screen and more than 150 films and countless comic books to his credit, Donald's plumage has never changed. Donald doesn't migrate, but resides year round in Duckburg. To our... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood, humor

The Bushtit vs. the Elastic

BirdNote listener Catherine Alexander recently told of watching a Bushtit, in search of the perfect bit of stuff for its nest. It found a tattered, old sock, hanging from a tree. The Bushtit grabbed a frayed bit of elastic and pulled. The elastic held strong. Bushtit pulled. Elastic held. The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, listener story

Cartoon Birds

At this time of year, you may see young birds making their first forays outside the nest. Despite its lack of experience, a bird must learn to fend for itself. The plight of the young bird is illustrated by this encounter between predator and prey, as a young hawk first sets out to hunt. The... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood, humor

Sitting in the Catbird Seat

Longtime baseball announcer Red Barber often described a player in a winning situation as "sitting in the catbird seat." So what is "sitting in the catbird seat"? And what is a catbird? The Gray Catbird is a cousin of the mockingbird, and it does sound a little like a cat. During breeding season,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, language, sports

Stephen Colbert's Bald Eagle

Watch Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, and you'll see a Bald Eagle streak across the screen, screaming, talons outstretched, ferocious, majestic. But - in the spirit of truthiness - we must declare that the bird you hear is not a Bald Eagle, but a Red-tailed Hawk. Be sure... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor

Tweety Bird

Do you recall when you were a young Saturday-morning birdwatcher, learning the intricate lessons of predator-prey relationships? Twitiavis superciliosis is a small, animated yellow bird, native to Southern California. It's particularly susceptible to predation, and so has developed a complex... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  Hollywood, humor

Birds Talk, People Squawk

Darvin Gebhart is a champion goose-caller. But there are also birds that use human language. Sparkie Williams was a famous parakeet, or budgerigar, that lived in England in the 1950s. He recorded commercials for bird seed and released his own hit single "Pretty Talk." Alex, the African Grey... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, vocalization

The Crow and the Gull

Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. Can you guess who won?The gull seen here... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  humor, listener story

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