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BirdNote Daily

Science Podcasts

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.

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.


Tacoma, WA


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.




BirdNote PO Box 99456 Seattle, WA 98139 2064959640


Get Involved

Go outside this weekend. Feel the wind in your hair. Listen to a bird. Discover a new park. Then get involved! Volunteer to lead your own bird walk. Participate in a bird count or cleanup. Or maybe you’re more comfortable around a laptop – lots of local parks and environmental nonprofits have governing boards, office tasks, and other opportunities for everyone to get involved. More info and transcript at Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for...


Diving Birds – Below the Surface

By December, an array of diving birds that nested at far northern latitudes are wintering on temperate waters across the continent. If we could watch them under water, we'd see this Common Loon racing like a torpedo. A goldeneye dives under water and swims about 10 feet from the surface, while scoters get down to 30 feet in search of clams and mussels. But if one bird stands out as the most beautiful diver, it has to be the Long-tailed Duck. Propelling itself beneath the surface with its...


Strange Places for a Nest

Birds are resourceful. Wherever they live, even in the biggest cities, they find clever places to build their nests. An initiative from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology called Celebrate Urban Birds, once asked people to share the funkiest and funniest places they’ve seen a bird nest. Among the highlights were a family of robins set up shop in a coiled cable hung near a welding rig, a wren nest in an old car motor, and a tiny hummingbird nest perched precariously on an outdoor string...


Are Northern Forest Owls Coming South This Winter?

The boreal forest stretches across Canada and Alaska, a huge expanse of woods, wetlands and wilderness. And it’s full of magnificent forest owls that depend on mice and other rodents for food. Those populations can boom and bust, so in lean years, hungry owls often fly as far south as the northern U.S. to find food. More info and transcript at Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. BirdNote is a...


The Woodcock’s Silly Walk

When it comes to silly walks, no bird outdoes the American Woodcock’s one-of-a-kind strut. It goes like this: take one step forward, then rock your whole torso forward and back a few times before sliding another foot forward — all while keeping your head perfectly steady. It looks like a bird with an undeniable sense of rhythm. It’s not entirely clear why woodcocks walk this way. It’s another of the bird world’s little mysteries — and one of its grooviest dance moves. More info and...


Dowitchers Get a Second Wind

The two American species of dowitchers, Long-billed and Short-billed, are similar in appearance but have distinctive calls. And they’re some of the continent’s most dramatic songsters. On their northern breeding grounds, Short-billed Dowitchers ascend as high as 150 feet in the air then glide slowly earthward, singing. At the end of the glide, they may take off again for another bout of song. More info and transcript at Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter....


New Homes for Cockatoos

The alpine forests of Australia’s southeast are home to an iconic pint-sized gray parrot with a bright red mohawk, and a call that’s been described as a “flying creaky gate”. The Gang-gang Cockatoo has seen significant habitat loss in recent years, especially after the 2020 wildfires. It’s now listed as an endangered species. A new national working group is coordinating recovery efforts. Researchers and community scientists are trialing an innovation on the Gang-gang population called the...


Why Birds' Feet Don't Freeze

Have you ever watched ducks walking around in freezing temperatures and wondered why their feet don't freeze? And how do birds, including this Northern Flicker, sit on metal perches with no problem? Birds' feet have a miraculous adaptation that keeps them from freezing. Rete mirabile — Latin for "wonderful net" — is a fine, netlike pattern of arteries that interweaves blood from a bird's heart with the veins carrying cold blood from its feet and legs. The system cools the blood so the little...


The Avocets of Bolivar Flats

The shallow waters and wide mudflats of the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary northeast of Galveston, Texas, are alive with thousands of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. American Avocets are often among the most abundant birds, with 5,000 or more here most winters. The avocets have sensitive bills that curve upward. As they wade, they sweep their heads back and forth and snap up the tiny crustaceans that touch their bills. This tactile feeding method is unique among the birds here. The Bolivar...


Spark Bird: Maya Higa and Bean

When Maya Higa started interning at a zoo, she wasn't especially into birds — until she began rehabilitating a Red-tailed Hawk named Bean. Meanwhile, Maya was doing live-streams of herself singing and playing guitar on the website Twitch, just for fun, to a pretty small audience. The video went viral, and Maya's audience grew from there. Thousands of viewers watched Bean's rehabilitation on her streams, forming a bond with the bird. And this reminded Maya of her education work at the zoo....


Titmice Lead the Way

In winter, many songbirds join flocks made up of multiple species that travel around looking for food, benefitting from safety in numbers. But a bird flock that doesn't move in the same direction soon scatters to the wind. It turns out that the Tufted Titmouse, a small gray songbird, is often the one leading the flock. Researchers studying the flight paths of flocks found that the paths taken by the titmice best reflected the direction of the group as a whole, compared to other species in...


Snake-Eagles Are Awesome

When a soaring Short-toed Snake-Eagle spots a delicious snake, it swoops down, grabs it with its talons, then tears off the snake’s head. Still on the wing, it swallows the entire snake, head first. Smaller than Bald Eagles, they live mainly in Africa and have legs and toes covered in thick scales to protect them from bites. Snake-Eagles take on some of the swiftest and deadliest snakes in the world, like cobras and black mambas. More info and transcript at Want more...


Molly Adams on Birding with Long COVID

For Molly Adams, the founder of the Feminist Bird Club, getting COVID didn’t just mean a week or two under the weather. Like other people with long COVID, they’re continuing to have chronic symptoms after the viral infection. Fortunately, before COVID they had learned about a technique called atlasing — observing birds closely to figure out if they’re breeding in a certain habitat. The observations become part of a record called a breeding bird atlas. Molly says atlasing is a more soothing,...


Bird Names in Meskwaki

The poet Ray Young Bear writes in both English and Meskwaki, his first language. He says that the task of passing on Indigenous languages feels especially urgent now as linguistic scholars predict the loss of languages. The Meskwaki language is rich with bird names, like Tti Tti Ka Kwa Ha, the name for the robin, which emulates the bird’s song, he says. After decades of creating poems, novels, and songs, Ray Young Bear has dedicated himself to preserving and teaching his language and...


Return of the Snowbird

You may see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer, but come fall, many more — those that have been nesting in the mountains or farther north — arrive to spend the winter. These juncos often visit birdfeeders for winter feasting. Dark-eyed Juncos forage on the ground. The flash of white tail-feathers when one is alarmed alerts other members of the flock, and is also used as part of the courtship display. More info and transcript at Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly...


Beaks and Bills

A bird’s bill is an incredible multi-tool — good for preening feathers, building a nest, self-defense, scratching, displaying, building a nest, and egg-turning. And a bill must be the right size and shape for the bird’s diet, whether that’s probing for worms, cracking open seeds, or tear apart prey. More info and transcript at Want more BirdNote? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Sign up for BirdNote+ to get ad-free listening and other perks. BirdNote is a nonprofit. Your...


Bringing Condor Home

Tiana Williams-Claussen is a member of the Yurok Nation and Director of the Yurok Tribe Wildlife Department. In this episode, she shares the story of how the California Condor, known as Prey-go-neesh in the Yurok language, went extinct on Yurok lands due to the environmental exploitation that followed the California Gold Rush. The Yurok Tribe has forged a partnership with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bring condors back home. More info and transcript at...


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 are more severe, migrate south to Mexico and Central America. Because the northern Killdeer fly south — right over the region where other Killdeer reside year-round — they are known as leap-frog...


Bears at the Bird Feeder

In bear country, food left outside or uncovered trash cans can become irresistible targets for bears looking for a quick snack. But even if you’ve put away any human food, don’t forget about bird feeders. Bears are omnivores and won’t hesitate to grab a bird seed snack. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that people take down bird feeders between April 1st and November 30th, when black bears are most active. During the winter, the bears return to their...


Geese in V-formation

Autumn…and geese fly high overhead in V-formation. But what about that V-formation, angling outward through the sky? This phenomenon — a kind of synchronized, aerial tailgating — marks the flight of flocks of larger birds, like geese or pelicans. Most observers believe that each bird behind the leader is taking advantage of the lift of a corkscrew of air coming off the wingtips of the bird in front. This corkscrew updraft is called a tip vortex, and it enables the geese to save considerable...