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music

Music Inspired by Chicks Hatching - Mussorgsky and Ravel

Inspired by a talented friend's painting called "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks," Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky wrote a piano piece as part of his famous work Pictures at an Exhibition. The composition was later orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. Have you ever watched a baby bird peck its way... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Vivaldi's Goldfinch

Bird song caught the ear of Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. And he even named a 1729 flute concerto for a bird — the goldfinch. The source of inspiration for Vivaldi's Goldfinch concerto, or Il Gardellino, was the European Goldfinch, a tiny bird found throughout much of Europe, where it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Turkey in the Straw

Turkey in the Straw was a fiddle tune called Natchez Under the Hill before it was published with words. It became popular during Andrew Jackson's presidency, which would put it on the scene about the early 1830s. We know that Wild Turkeys prefer woodlands to barns with straw. Nevertheless, we... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Surfin' Bird Meets Surfbird

The Surfbird - nothing like the "Surfin' Bird" of 1960s Trashmen fame - makes its home along the Pacific Coast. An oddly constructed sandpiper, the Surfbird forages on rocky jetties along the coast. The bird's winter range ranks among the longest and narrowest of any bird, from Kodiak Island to... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Bird's Eye View I

From its lofty outlook, this Red-tailed Hawk commands "a bird's eye view." The Oxford English Dictionary defines that as "a view of a landscape from above, such as is presented to the eye of a bird." Debate continues about birds' visual acuity, but we do know that visual acuity is keenest among... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Ridgefield BirdFest

October 3rd and 4th, 2015! Cackling Geese-like this one-migrate south from Alaska in October, and flock together for the winter at sites like Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, in southern Washington. In addition to music, the festival offers artwork and guided kayak and walking tours. Keep an... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  festival, music

Skylark - With Aretha Franklin

Imagine: Singing for three minutes while soaring to 100 feet in the air, like the Skylark. None of the native birds of North America has such a long song or sings so persistently in flight. Around 1902, Skylarks were brought from England to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to satisfy the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, reflection

Rufous-collared Sparrow - Tico-Tico

The song Tico-Tico no Fuba, like Carmen Miranda, came to us from Brazil. Believe it or not, the song is about a bird. The Portuguese lyrics tell the story of the tico-tico, a local name for the Rufous-collared Sparrow. Like so many birds, tico-tico was named for its song. In the song, the bird... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

Common Potoo with Nancy Rumbel

The Common Potoo is a nocturnal bird of Central and South America, known for its camouflage plumage and upright perching. Nancy Rumbel, who composed the theme music for BirdNote, improvises here with the call of the Common Potoo. Using the pentatonic scale of the potoo, Nancy responds with her... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

In the Land of Odin - Featuring John and Carol Stansfield

The Norse god Odin had two ravens that perched on his shoulders. Storyteller John Stansfield and his wife Carol share a song about the land of Odin. In this summer camp song, it's not a raven but a little bird that comes to sharpen its beak on a mythic mountain. Once every million years, a little... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  music

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