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.


Past Shows

Please enter the keywords you want to search by below.

Three Worldwide Raptors

Consider three species of raptors: the Barn Owl, Peregrine Falcon, and Osprey. They’re on every continent except Antarctica. Each has a specialized hunting prowess distinct from the other. They can fly great distances. And like many birds of prey, they mate for life. The Barn Owl, pictured here,... read more »

Topics & Themes:  ecology

The Birds and Plants of Hawaii

Three-quarters of Hawaii's native flowering plants probably came from seeds that hitched rides with birds. Sticky or barbed seeds adhere to the feathers. Other seeds travel in mud caked on a bird's feet. And still others cross the ocean in the stomachs of birds. The most likely seed-carriers were... read more »


Red-shouldered Hawk - One Gorgeous Bird of Prey

Sharp, insistent cries signal the presence of one of North America’s most beautiful birds of prey: the Red-shouldered Hawk. There’s no mistaking this striking hawk for any other; the front of its body glows bright chestnut, the back boldly spangled black and white, the shoulders, that same... read more »


Ruffed Grouse and Aspen Groves

In spring, the loud wing-thumping of male Ruffed Grouse brings new life to northern forests across the continent. These handsome, wily birds reside in the forest year round. And while their numbers rise and fall cyclically, they average nearly seven million. Still, Audubon lists Ruffed Grouse... read more »

Topics & Themes:  breeding display

The Music of Black Scoters

Black Scoters are sea ducks that spend the winter on saltwater bays. They are large, strong ducks and buoyant swimmers with a habit of cocking their tails upward. Black Scoters nest each summer on freshwater tundra ponds. Each fall, they can be found on bays all across the Northern Hemisphere. An... read more »


Wishbones and Dinosaurs

The anatomical structure we call the wishbone was long thought unique to birds. But fossil discoveries of recent decades have shown that some dinosaurs, including the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, and the Velociraptors of ”Jurassic Park,” also had wishbones. And there is now wide consensus among... read more »

Topics & Themes:  fossil, humor, science

Pygmy-Owls' False Eyes

This Northern Pygmy-Owl appears to have eyes in the back of its head. But why? One theory is that large false eyes may create the illusion that the owl is much bigger than its 6 and 3/4-inch size. A more current theory is that the false eyes help protect the pygmy-owl's true eyes. Small birds... read more »


Boreal Chickadees Stay Home for the Winter

Boreal Chickadees live in the boreal forest year-round. How do they survive the harsh winter? First, during summer, they cache a great deal of food, both insects and seeds. Then in fall, they put on fresh, heavier plumage. And their feathers are denser than most birds', creating a comfy down... read more »


The Lowly Starling

Much maligned as a pest and cursed by many as an "invasive species," the European Starling has had many fans, too. Eugene Schieffelin introduced about 50 pairs into the United States in the 1890s. And Rachel Carson noted that the starling carries "more than 100 loads of destructive insects per... read more »

Topics & Themes:  music, vocalization

Partial Migration — Killdeer Play Leap Frog

The cries of a Killdeer are familiar across most of the US during spring and summer. But where do they go in winter? Killdeer that breed in the southern half of the US and along the Pacific Coast are year-round residents. But those that breed in the northern US and Canada, where winter conditions... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration