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Episodes

Date Title & Description Contributors
2024-04-18

  Recognizing a Stranded Loon

Loons are built for life in the water – so much so that their legs don’t work well on land. During migration, loons sometimes mistake wet pavement for the reflective surface of deep water and try to land there, then become unable to take flight again. ...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-17

  Aplomado Falcon

Aplomado Falcons were once widespread residents of the American Southwest, but by the 1950s, they'd disappeared entirely from the region. Loss of habitat, loss of prey, and pesticides all played a role. But in the 1980s, a group called The Peregrine Fu...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-16

  Lee Ann Roripaugh: String of Beads

When writer Lee Ann Roripaugh visited the annual staging grounds of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska, she was in awe of the birds. During their spring migration, hundreds of thousands of cranes roost on sandbars in the Platte River. The sound and sight of t...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-15

  Why a Gorget Glitters

A hummingbird's brilliant throat feathers are called a "gorget," a term applied in past centuries to the metallic swatch protecting the throat of a knight-in-armor. Light waves reflect and refract off the throat feathers, creating color in the manner o...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-14

  How Birds Survived the Asteroid

The asteroid that struck the Yucatán 66 million years ago wreaked worldwide ecological damage, spelling the end for most dinosaurs and destroying the world’s forests. Yet a few bird-like dinosaur groups made it through. Scientists believe that these gr...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-13

  White-tailed Hawks on the Texas Coastal Plain

The White-tailed Hawk thrives in the grassy plains of the Texas Coastal Plain, where many tropical species reach the northern limit of their ranges. White-tailed Hawks often hunt by kiting: hovering like a kite in the breeze with the wings held in a “V...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-12

  Spark Bird: John Kessler and the Music of Birds

John Kessler served as BirdNote’s senior producer for over 18 years. But before BirdNote existed, he was recording the sounds of Seattle for public radio station KPLU, now called KNKX. After capturing many of Seattle’s well-known spots on tape, he broa...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-11

  Burrowing Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher dashes through the air, warning intruders with its rapid-fire, rattling call. In spring, the best places to see Belted Kingfishers are along sandy banks – they are busy digging burrows, where they will nest. The holes typically re...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-10

  Aviary: Bird Echolocation to the Rescue

In this episode featuring Aviary — the shapeshifting bird superhero — the surprising abilities of birds come in handy when a student gets lost exploring a cave with his class. Aviary remembers an amazing bird called the Himalayan Swiftlet that’s able t...
  BirdNote author
2024-04-09

  Birds Dress for Spring

It's spring! And for many birds, a time to look their best to attract a new mate. This American Goldfinch has recently molted. Its old, worn-down feathers have fallen out, and new ones have grown in. When goldfinches molt in the fall, they lose these b...
  BirdNote author