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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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Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist known as the Sound Tracker, has mastered the art of truly listening. In this podcast, he shares soundscapes that will immerse you in incredible places and help you become a better listener.
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Eleven-year-old Zjencès Bell took an early interest in birds after he learned his first bird call. As a piano student, Zjencès soon blended his love of birds with his musical skills by creating piano compositions inspired by bird calls and songs. In this show, hear an excerpt of his composition inspired by the otherworldly voice of the Common Loon.…
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The crocodilians — crocodiles and their relatives, like the American Alligator — are the closest living relatives of birds. About 250 million years ago, the ancestors of all crocodiles split off from the dinosaur group that gave rise to modern birds. While crocs these days are mostly short-legged ambush predators, before mass extinction there were …
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A male American Golden-Plover proclaims its nesting territory with an aerial display known as the "butterfly flight." After flying up 50 feet, the plover switches to slow motion, raising its wings languidly until the wingtips nearly touch over its body, then lowering them gradually until they almost touch below – all the while calling. The plover s…
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Author Nick Belardes was walking at a park near his home in San Luis Obispo, California, when he saw a man who seemed in tune with birds. Belardes asked him what the coolest bird around was, and the man replied Vermilion Flycatcher. Belardes and his wife soon went out looking for the ruby-like bird, finally spotting it through rain and mist. He rem…
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The Northern Hawk Owl is one of the least studied and least known of all birds in North America. Northern Hawk Owls are owls, but they share several traits with hawks and falcons: A streamlined body shape, daytime hunting habits, and stiff wing feathers for daytime hunting. (Owls that hunt at night have soft edges on their wing feathers, so they ca…
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The Baltimore Oriole is a standout bird. With adult males’ electric orange and jet black feathers, and females and immature birds in various shades of yellow and orange, it’s no surprise that these birds show up in art, illustrations, and on the uniforms of Baltimore's baseball team. But they’re not the only orioles worth knowing. Orioles in the Am…
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After a Northern Flicker carves out a nest cavity, chances are the birds will use the cavity for just one nesting season. But the cavity may have a prolonged career as a home for small owls, bluebirds, swallows, and other birds – including the Bufflehead. Buffleheads are the only ducks small enough to use the cavities of flickers. Clear-cutting in …
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Organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and by Birds Canada, volunteers for Project NestWatch observe local nesting birds and track whether they’re successful in raising their young. Because the nest-watching volunteers monitor birds over a huge area, they cover way more ground than a small team of scientists ever could. Data from Project NestW…
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Some gulls and terns may show a glowing pink color, similar to that of flamingos and spoonbills. This pink color comes from pigments in the birds' food called carotenoids. These gulls and terns are able to convert these naturally occurring pigments to hues that may enhance their success at attracting a mate. More info and transcript at BirdNote.org…
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An evening baseball game isn’t the only thing illuminated by the bright stadium lights. High in the air, countless flying insects are drawn to them. And those insects are a perfect snack for the game’s avian attendees! Common Nighthawks swoop with their wide mouths open to hoover up the flying insects under the lights, performing aerial stunts over…
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Resident Cooper’s Hawks that nest in the urban areas of Albuquerque, New Mexico, are thriving as the populations of doves, their prey, have exploded. The easy prey gives the urban birds a competitive advantage over hawks in more natural habitats, where prey is less concentrated. The soaring numbers of urban Cooper's Hawks could help preserve the ge…
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As it began to hail, Marlon Inniss saw several Canada Geese doing something odd. Rather than trying to shield their heads, the geese pointed their bills skyward, directly into the path of the hail. The geese were pointing the smallest surface area of their sensitive bills, the narrow tip, into the hail — minimizing the impact. Inniss’s video of the…
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If you’ve already done things around the home with birds in mind, consider one more action that might be less obvious. Turning the thermostat down a degree or two in the colder months and up a degree in the warmer months might seem more about personal preference or energy bills than birds. But climate change is a grave threat to birds, putting two-…
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The Swainson's Thrush, the Hermit Thrush, and this Veery are small, brown birds, but their songs clearly distinguish them. The Swainson's Thrush announces its presence in early spring with subtle, limpid "whit" or "wink" sounds. Many rate it among the finest singers. A Veery's phrases tend downward in pitch. The Hermit Thrush sings ethereal, paired…
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After David Shephard moved to Hawai‘i to study botany, he realized that the “main character” of the islands is birds — many plants have co-evolved with birds due to their central role in Hawaiian ecosystems. He now designs Aloha Shirts that feature the native plants and wildlife of Hawai‘i, including the ‘i‘iwi, a bird that has cultural significanc…
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Many birds – like this Indigo Bunting – can be found in ecotones, the borders between two habitats. Indigo Buntings breed in the ecotone between forest and meadow. They are common at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana, where grassland and forest are interspersed to produce superb wildlife habitat. More info and transcript at BirdNote.o…
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Emily Raboteau’s book, Lessons for Survival, begins with a painting of two Burrowing Owls on the security gate of a local business in West Harlem, near where she teaches. Intrigued, she found more bird murals nearby, later learning that they are part of a collaborative effort between the National Audubon Society and artists to highlight bird specie…
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