BirdNote

50 EpisodesProduced by Tune In to Nature.orgWebsite

Escape the daily grind and immerse yourself in the natural world. Rich in imagery, sound, and information, BirdNote inspires you to notice the world around you. Join us for daily two-minute stories about birds, the environment, and more.

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Swallow or Swift?

August 23rd, 2019

At a glance, swallows and swifts, both graceful fliers, look much alike. But swifts — like this Chimney Swift — have longer, slimmer wings and short …

Woodpeckers Love Ants

August 22nd, 2019

Woodpeckers, as a group, eat far more ants than most other birds do. Many other vertebrates tend to avoid ants because of their stings or because of the noxious chemicals they contain, like formic acid. But woodpeckers …

What Audubon Saw

August 21st, 2019

Over the course of John James Audubon’s life, even in the 1800s, he noticed how quickly people were changing the wilderness. Today, hundreds of local, state and national Audubon societies fight for birds and the …

Nightfall on the Zabalo

August 20th, 2019

Visit a completely undisturbed ecosystem, where all the creatures we hear are all native to the land, and have coexisted and continued to evolve …

Birdsong Therapy

August 19th, 2019

Where some noises — like TV, traffic and random conversations — can make it hard to concentrate, birdsong may make it easier. In Alder Hey Children’s …

Nature Prospers in Avalanche Chutes

August 18th, 2019

Avalanches tend to follow historic channels down the face of a mountain, sweeping with them standing trees and boulders, while adjacent slopes remain …

The Harpy Eagle Is a Huge, Powerful Hunter

August 17th, 2019

Harpy Eagles spend their lives in tall, remote tropical forests in Central and South America, flying from tree to tree in search of food. The eagles …

Birds and Navigation

August 16th, 2019

The natural world sends us messages if we’re open to receiving them. Ancient navigators put their trust in the birds’ amazing ability to find dry land, no matter how far they were from safe harbor.

A Crow That Makes Tools

August 15th, 2019

A crow named Betty learned how to take a straight piece of wire and bend one end into a hook. She then used the hooked end to haul a tiny bucket of …

How Toucans Stay Cool

August 14th, 2019

The Toco Toucan of South America has evolved to stay cool in the sweltering heat of the tropics. Relative to its body size, the Toco Toucan has the …

Michigan's State Bird Battle

August 13th, 2019

Since 1929, Michigan’s state bird has been the American Robin. But lots of people think it’s time for a change. The Black-capped Chickadee is a …

Matching Birds with Their Habitats

August 12th, 2019

Close your eyes and let’s take a little trip today, from one landscape to another, discovering new birds calling in the wild. Particular birds are …

Bird Life at the Grand Canyon

August 11th, 2019

With its awe-inspiring vistas and eons of geologic time on display, the Grand Canyon also offers a unique habitat for birds. What you're likely to …

Great Snipe - The Fastest Long-distance Migrant

August 10th, 2019

One summer, Swedish ornithologists attached tiny tracking devices to ten Great Snipes. A year later, they found that one bird had flown from Sweden …

Northern Goshawks and Fire

August 9th, 2019

Among the great firs and Ponderosa pines of Stanislaus National Forest in central California, Northern Goshawk nestlings crowd a platform nest of branches and pine needles halfway up a mature fir tree.

Are Baltimore Orioles and Bullock's Orioles Different Species?

August 8th, 2019

Sometimes populations of birds split apart - a process called speciation. Where Baltimore Orioles and Bullock’s Orioles overlap in the Great Plains …

Magnificent Frigatebird Drum Roll

August 7th, 2019

Magnificent Frigatebirds are huge, gangly seabirds found around the warm waters of the Western Hemisphere. When it comes time to mate, males inflate giant red throat sacs, then rattle and drum their bills against them …

Common Nighthawk, Uncommon Sound

August 6th, 2019

Swooping and diving through the air on its long slender wings, the Common Nighthawk emerges at dusk to chase down aerial insects. Nighthawks have short bills that open wide, so they can vacuum up their insect prey as …

The Sneeze of the Willow Flycatcher

August 5th, 2019

Willow Flycatchers arrive later than most other migrants, usually at the end of May. They're coming from South America, a long way to fly for a bird that weighs less than half an ounce. A male Willow Flycatcher …

Marsh Voices at Sunrise

August 4th, 2019

In marshes across the country, birds awaken on a summer morning. Tall dense grasses and reeds often make marsh birds hard to see, but their voices carry easily across the lush, green landscape.

White Ibis's Tricky Nesting Schedule

August 3rd, 2019

For many birds, breeding and nesting are tied closely to spring. But for a bird like the White Ibis — one of the most abundant wading birds in the Southeast — the timing of nesting has to do with water. White Ibises …

Double-jointed Hawks and Convergent Evolution

August 2nd, 2019

Crane Hawks of Central and South America and African Harrier-Hawks both have legs that bend forward and backward. Each bird’s wonderfully peculiar …

An Albatross Surfs the Wind

August 1st, 2019

By moving from the faster high air to slower low air, or vice versa, an albatross can propel itself forward. In a series of sinuous loops, the albatross surfs the wind, up and down, repeating the pattern over and over …

Night Singers

July 31st, 2019

A bird like the Whip-poor-will is a true night bird – feeding, and mating, and nesting in the dark. But for about a week each spring, male Yellow-breasted Chats also sing in the darkness as they call out to the arriving …

Mountain Walk with Bird Songs

July 30th, 2019

A hike through the mountains of the West, from the lowlands to the rocky alpine zones, reveals an incredibly diverse array of beautiful birds: …

Double Yolks

July 29th, 2019

When young hens begin laying at five or six months, their ovaries aren’t fully in synch. So every hundred or so eggs, they release two yolks instead …

Adaptations for Flight

July 28th, 2019

Birds evolved not only wings, but many other adaptations that make it possible to fly. Feathers provide insulation, waterproofing, and a lightweight …

Birdhouses in Turkey

July 27th, 2019

It’s easy to imagine that putting up a birdhouse or nestbox is a relatively recent practice. But in Turkey, it has a long history.

Sparrows Sing in Arizona Monsoon

July 26th, 2019

Midday temperatures in southeast Arizona soar above 100 degrees during the month of July. But relief is coming. A summer monsoon refreshes the …

The Cold Lake Amphitheater

July 25th, 2019

A great place to listen to insects - and birds - is a remote mountain lake in the spring. Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist, recorded the sounds …

Crested Auklets Entice Their Mates with Scent

July 24th, 2019

Crested Auklets are small seabirds that nest on remote cliffs in the Northern Pacific and the Bering Sea. But it’s their smell that really sets these birds apart. They smell like tangerines! Experiments show that …

Killdeer, Master of Distraction

July 23rd, 2019

Since Killdeer don’t always pick the safest places to lay their eggs, they’ve developed a clever way to protect their young. They use the art of distraction.

Sound Escapes - Turning a Mountain Lake into a Microphone

July 22nd, 2019

If you’re at a cold mountain lake at just the right time and the air above it is warmer, then you might hear something magical. Because sound travels …

House Sparrows' Dance

July 21st, 2019

In 1559, Duke August of Saxony ordered that the House Sparrows of Dresden be excommunicated. The birds were slipping into Holy Cross Church, where …

Fairy-Wrens Sing Secret Passwords to Unborn Chicks

July 20th, 2019

Superb Fairy-wrens teach their embryonic chicks a secret code. This "incubation call" contains a special note that will later serve as a password. …

Burrowing Owls: Howdy Birds

July 19th, 2019

A Burrowing Owl is about as big as a can of beans on stilts. Between the long legs, bright yellow eyes, and signature bobbing salute, these little birds are comical members of the western ecosystem. Cowboys riding …

The Female Oriole Weaves a Nest

July 18th, 2019

In summer, across much of North America, a sudden flash of orange and black in the treetops usually means one thing: orioles. Baltimore Orioles in …

Why Do Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers Look So Similar?

July 17th, 2019

Generations of birders have puzzled over how to tell Downy Woodpeckers from Hairy Woodpeckers. The two species’ patterns of black and white feathers are so alike that it was long thought they were the closest of …

Most Kingfishers Don't Fish

July 16th, 2019

In North America, kingfishers fish. But in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia, most of the roughly 90 species of kingfishers don’t “fish.” They hunt in woodlands, where the smaller ones, like the four-inch …

Bond. James Bond. Birdwatcher.

July 15th, 2019

The real James Bond was born in Philadelphia in 1900 and worked as a banker after college. But his first love was the natural world. Eventually, he …

Jazz for the Birds

July 14th, 2019

Birds are an inspiration for many musicians. Before writing “The Penguin,” Raymond Scott probably saw these birds at the Central Park Zoo. Though penguins are clumsy on land, Gentoos like the ones pictured here are the …

Rock Pigeons: Bobbleheads

July 13th, 2019

A Rock Pigeon bobs its head as it walks, making it appear that its head and feet are linked. Pigeons' eyes are on the sides of their heads, permitting them to watch for predators from all directions, but limiting their …

Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

July 12th, 2019

The Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his farm in the 1940s. In his Sand County Almanac, a classic of conservation and …

Tracking Birds During Migration

July 11th, 2019

It’s more important than ever to map their travels – to learn when birds take flight, where they stop to rest, and what they require for food and shelter along the way.

Wrens from North to South

July 10th, 2019

There are nearly ninety species of wrens in the world, and quite a few are exceptional singers. Nearly all of them reside in the Western Hemisphere, with the majority living in Central and South America.

Anhingas - Snakebirds

July 9th, 2019

In the black water of a Louisiana bayou, the water ripples where a slender form glides just beneath the surface. It appears to be a snake, but look closer at the long, narrow spike of a beak.

Swift Bricks

July 8th, 2019

Common Swifts in Europe nest in eaves and under roof tiles and gables. But modern construction doesn’t have these nooks and crannies, and populations …

Fruit as a Bribe

July 7th, 2019

In summer, many shrubs bear fruit that birds find irresistible. Elderberries, serviceberries, blackberries, dogwood berries, mulberries, and currants …

Do Birds Use Ants as Tools?

July 6th, 2019

The purpose of anting remains something of a mystery, although most experts agree it has to do with transferring the ants’ secretions to the bird’s …

Flyin' in the Rain

July 5th, 2019

Most birds are mostly waterproof. Their feathers, aided by oil from preen glands, keep them pretty watertight. So why do birds avoid flying during rainstorms? It may have more to do with the air than with the water. …

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