BirdNote

Sunday at 8:35 a.m.

Listen and learn about the intriguing ways of birds with BirdNote, a weeky feature airing mornings on VPR.  From New England to the tropics, migration patterns to mating rituals, BirdNote brings you into the world of nature.  You'll also hear the featured bird each week, so don't be surprised if your cat runs for the radio on Saturday mornings!

Copyright Hung Do

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 8:58 a.m.  It's morning on the island of New Guinea, and the lowland forests erupt with the crowing calls of Birds of Paradise. Male Raggiana Birds of Paradise perform elaborate displays to attract females, sometimes even hanging upside-down with their wings pointing upward. Forty-three species of Birds of Paradise are found on or near New Guinea. There's a world of birds out there. Find your local Audubon and go on a field trip.

Copyright Tom Grey

Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. Take a walk around a lake in late November, and you'll find male ducks in their most brilliant breeding colors. These ducks have lost their nondescript late-summer feathers, known as "eclipse plumage." Male dabbling ducks - like this Green-winged Teal - look their finest in late fall and winter, the season of courtship and pair-bonding.

The 2014 BirdNote calendar features many beautiful birds, including the Long-tailed duck. Check it out!

Copyright Thomas Teufel

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. When birds like these Rock Pigeons retire for the night, they seek a place to roost. And while the world of birds includes a variety of sleeping arrangements, many songbirds, such as cardinals or finches, sleep perched in the safety of dense trees or shrubs. When they fall asleep, they stand on one leg. An amazing adaptation peculiar to perching birds makes this behavior possible.

Learn more about BirdNote.

Copyright Project Puffin

Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. In 1977, Dr. Stephen Kress used a creative approach to reintroduce Atlantic Puffins to Eastern Egg Rock, an island in Maine’s Muscongus Bay: decoys! It had been 100 years since these charismatic birds had inhabited the island. Today, thanks to the continuing work by Dr. Kress and Project Puffin, the island is home to more than 100 nesting pairs of Atlantic Puffins.

Learn more about Puffins.

Copyright Hakan Sandin

Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. Birding on the road? You'd be amazed! The freeway's wide median and mowed shoulders offer birds a ribbon of open grassland, perfect for hunting. Watch especially for raptors perched on poles and bridges. Songbirds favor wire fences and posts. Smaller roads offer hedgerows and shrubs. But this Colima Warbler is one bird you won't see from a paved surface.

Sign up for a field trip at your local Audubon chapter to see what you can see!

Copyright Pat Hemlepp

Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. If we had to pick one bird’s voice to symbolize our Eastern woodlands, the Blue Jay’s voice would likely be it. And as a frequent visitor to back yards and bird feeders, the Blue Jay is among the most recognized birds of the region. Nearly a foot long, Blue Jays can be loud and assertive when they approach a bird feeder, pushing smaller songbirds aside. But when nesting, the same jays can sneak to and from their nests with uncanny secrecy.

Created by Ben Hardaway; Copyright Garrett Lau

Saturday, October 18, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. He doesn't sound exactly like Woody Woodpecker, but the Acorn Woodpecker was probably the model for the cartoon character. The story goes that Walter Lantz and his new bride, Grace, were on their honeymoon in a cabin in California. A racket on their roof drew them outside, where they spotted an Acorn Woodpecker, pounding away at the shingles. Now, Lantz was ready to shoot the pesky critter, but his wife suggested that, instead, he vent his frustration in a creative fashion. And in this way, supposedly, Woody was born.

AP/Gene J. Puskar

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. It's the time of year that geese migrate south for the winter. Isn't it? So why are there so many geese still hanging around, setting up housekeeping on our parks and golf courses? Did they decide to forgo the long trip north? In the early 1900s, a subspecies of non-migratory geese were imported by the hundreds to populate our wildlife refuges. Now, while many Canada Geese migrate south for the winter, these other geese stay - and multiply. Learn more.

Copyright Paul Bannick

Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. Movie-makers love to add bird sounds to a film, to evoke a mood or set a scene. For all the attention to some details though, nature's details often get a little mixed up... like an Australian Laughing Kookaburra guffawing in the depths of the Florida Everglades? For a jungle sound, it's hard to beat the territorial call of this Pied-billed Grebe, a bird that is widespread and common across the US. Learn more about this small bird with a big voice at Cornell's AllAbout Birds.

AP/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. A clean feeder is a life-and-death matter to some birds. To protect the birds at your feeder, clean it at least once a week, more often if necessary. Rake the ground underneath, too. These Pine Siskins are especially prone to salmonellosis, a bacterial disease. You can learn more about feeding backyard birds at Cornell's AllAboutBirds. California Partners in Flight has more suggestions about feeding birds safely!

Copyright Gregg Thompson

The Green Heron forages on the banks of small bodies of fresh water. Relying on its plumage for camouflage, it perches motionless - body horizontal and stretched forward - waiting for small fish to come close.

This heron may use "bait" while hunting for fish. It drops a feather, a live insect, or a twig on the water's surface. Then it hunkers down and waits for unsuspecting prey to venture within reach. Clever heron! Be sure to watch videos of Green Herons fishing.

Copyright Daniele Occhiato

Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. In September, this Arctic Tern flies from Alaska all the way to Antarctica. Rufous Hummingbirds follow pathways of mountain wildflowers, from as far north as Alaska south to Mexico. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, migrate altitudinally from the mountains to the lowlands. Each of these birds migrates, but on a very different course. All make the most of food and breeding opportunities that change with the seasons.

Copyright Chris Peterson

Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. Who among us hasn’t almost walked into a glass door? Birds though, especially when migrating, run the risk of colliding with reflective glass in urban areas. With millions of birds dying from collisions every year, it’s heartening to know that bird-friendly lighting and design options are emerging. For example, a brand of glass called Ornilux contains a UV pattern nearly invisible to humans that warns away birds. A promising product!

Copyright Matthew Studebaker

It’s late August, and BirdNote is imagining the bird life at Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Wobegon. The loons are now quiet. And the Purple Martins that nested outside the Chatterbox Café? They’re headed for South America. Even the Orchard Orioles - like the pair seen here (female L, male R) - that nested in the tree behind the Sidetrack Tap have gone south. But the cardinals aren’t going anywhere. Neither are the chickadees.

Copyright David Bruess

Hurricanes bring tragedy not only to people, but also to birds and other wildlife. Severe storm winds may kill many birds and blow others far from their normal range. Although many individuals die, most populations of birds are resilient, able to spring back from disaster if conditions allow. Many small birds, like this Carolina Wren, breed twice in a season. Fortunately, the effects of natural disasters are usually local, and bird populations on a grand scale can, literally, weather the storm.

Copyright Bob Moul

Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. By late summer, the male Mallard’s need for fancy feathers to attract the females has passed. These birds have molted, and their bright feathers are replaced with mottled brown ones. Subdued colors help camouflage the male ducks, protecting them from predators. Come fall, the male Mallards will molt again and become the colorful dandies we remember.

Take a splash to learn about Ducks Unlimited! The organization protects habitat for Mallards at all stages of their lives. Find links below in Related Resources.

AP Photo /Alaska Department Of Fish and Game, File

Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 8:58 a.m.  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 up a tiny bucket of meat from the bottom of a long tube. A postage stamp was issued in honor of this New Caledonian Crow.

Watch a video of Betty.
 

Copyright Tom Munson

Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. The Greater Roadrunner is a common species in the desert and brush country of the Southwest, but its full range reaches from California to western Louisiana. Its soft cooing voice hints at its connections to another bird: scientists group roadrunners with the cuckoos. Where to see a roadrunner? In the US Southwest, you might spot one along the roadside, standing atop a boulder. It can reach speeds of nearly 20 miles an hour and can fly-but doesn't very often.

Copyright Paul Bannick and Gerry Dewagne

It can be difficult to identify a bird by its appearance, and just as challenging to do so by its song. But birding by ear is a great way to get to know birds. A blind birder in Kitsap County, Washington, was puzzled by a haunting bird song. She thought it might be a special song of the American Robin (left). It turned out instead to be the song of a Swainson's Thrush (right). To hear the songs of these and other thrushes, visit the Macaulay Library.

Listen Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. Learn more about BirdNote.

Copyright Jerry Oldenettel

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 8:58 a.m.  The habitats that comprise Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge in central Maine – including peat bogs, streamside meadows, shrub thickets, cedar swamps, and maple forests – are rich with bird life, like this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. You’ll also find Bobolinks and more than 20 kinds of warblers during the summer months. The flycatchers return to Sunkhaze Meadows annually from Panama, while Bobolinks migrate to Maine from as far as Bolivia.

Learn more about BirdNote.

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