Support
Subscribe
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.

DONATE

vocalization

Starling Mimicry

The searing cry of a Red-tailed Hawk pierces the air. The distinctive scream is coming from a tree nearby. But when you scan the tree for the form of a hawk, you see only a small, black bird. You’ve been fooled. It’s a starling giving voice to the hawk’s cry. The European Starling — the continent... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Late Fall Sounds to Listen For

By the time November rolls around, the bird songs of summer can seem a distant memory.But there’s always something to listen for. Small birds like chickadees and kinglets, including the Golden-crowned Kinglet pictured here, often mix in flocks while foraging. Geese can be heard overhead in the... read more »

RELATED

What Kind of Music Is Bird Song?

Composers from Vivaldi to Beethoven have been inspired by birdsong. But how similar is birdsong to the music we create? Two recent studies offer contrasting answers. One analysis used nearly 250 song examples of the Nightingale Wren, pictured here, a tropical bird widely admired for its haunting... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  music, science, vocalization

Do Parrots Name Their Chicks?

Parrots are among the smartest of birds. But are they clever enough to know each other by name? Research conducted by ornithologist Karl Berg suggests the answer might be yes. Berg’s studies of Green-rumped Parrotlets — such as the one pictured here — indicate that every parrot in a family... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting, vocalization

Listening to Nuthatches

Nuthatches rank high on the list of favorite backyard birds. Compact and stub-tailed, they climb down tree trunks and along the underside of branches with comical ease. One at a time, they flit in for suet and sunflower seeds. But out in the woods, where they spend most of their time, nuthatches... read more »

RELATED

Do Crows Sing?

It’s been said that if someone knows only three birds, one of them will be the crow. They’re common, easy to see, and even easier to hear. But crow voices are complicated. Altogether, crows may use 30 sound elements in different combinations, and one of the most intriguing is their song. Unlike... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Northern Saw-whet Owl - A Bird with a Lot to Say

For such a small owl, the Northern Saw-whet has a lot to say. And a lot of ways to say it. Males weigh about as much as an American Robin. And they send out at least 11 different calls, including “toot-toot-toot” advertising calls, from late January through May. The rate of calling is partly... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Hold the Phone

Many birds are difficult to see, such as the Sora. Its plumage blends perfectly with the dense marsh grass where it lives. So how can we get a good look at this denizen of the undergrowth? One way is to play a bird-call app on a mobile device. But using an app requires sensitivity. Because stress... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Birdsong, Music, and Neuroscience

Brain imaging studies have shown that hearing enjoyable music “lights up” the mesolimbic reward pathway in the human brain. But how does a bird experience a song from its own species? Scientists at Emory University found a similar pattern in the sparrow’s brain. Female White-throated Sparrows,... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Bluethroat

One of the most remarkable singers on the European continent is the Bluethroat. Often singing while fluttering aloft, Bluethroats mix their own song elements with imitations of just about every bird within hearing distance. They'll even try their luck with crickets, tree frogs, and train whistles... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Pages

Home
Shows
Galleries
More