BirdNote

BirdNote
9:00 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Pileated Applepeckers

Credit Diana Buckley birdsamore.com

It's autumn, and apples have begun to fall, although many remain on the trees. In full view of its offspring, an adult Pileated Woodpecker stabs a tasty apple treat. After it feeds, it flies to a nearby tree. Alone now, the youngster repeats what it's seen, knocking apples to the ground until it finds one secure enough to withstand its hungry blows. It just learned something that will sustain it, once it's on its own. Hey, perhaps they should be called Pileated Applepeckers at this time of year!

BirdNote
9:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Cape May In October

Credit Hope Mayer

  Cape May Autumn Birding Festival, October 24 - 26!

Cape May is one of the most famous birding destinations in the US. And October may be the most exciting month of all to watch birds there. It's hawk migration! Cape May lies at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, on a peninsula that divides Delaware Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. Because most birds prefer to migrate over land rather than open water, the peninsula funnels southbound birds, sometimes in astonishing numbers. In the autumn of 2010, Cape May Bird Observatory counted more than 47,000 migrating hawks - including Red-shouldered Hawks, like this one. New Jersey Audubon sponsors the festival.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Geese In V-formation

Credit Ted Bobosh

  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 energy during long flights. The V-formation may also enhance birds’ ability to see and hear each other, thus avoiding mid-air collisions. Small birds probably do not create enough of an updraft to help others in the flock and don’t fly in vees.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Black-footed Albatross, Graceful Giant

Credit Tom Grey

  Just a couple dozen miles off the Northwest coast, immense dark birds with long, saber-shaped wings glide without effort above the waves. These graceful giants are Black-footed Albatrosses, flying by the thousands near the edge of the continental shelf. Black-footed Albatrosses do not breed until they are at least five years old, and after the young leave their breeding colony, they spend their first three years at sea.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Waterfowl Migration In Flux

Credit Teddy Llovet & Aaron Maizlish

  Waterfowl such as this Greater White-fronted Goose have long followed a predictable schedule, flying south in autumn after breeding in the north. But for some birds, climate change may be delaying fall migration. Beginning in 1979, scientists in northern Europe recorded migration dates of geese and ducks during a period of 30 years. The data revealed six species that delayed southward migration. The reasons are complex, but a general trend of delayed fall migration will make waterfowl conservation increasingly challenging.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Chorus Line In The Sky

Credit Bob Stevens

  A flock of small shorebirds (like these Western Sandpipers) twists and turns, glittering in the sky. When threatened by a falcon, these birds take to the air, flying so close together that it's hard for a predator to capture one. A bird at one edge turns toward the middle, and a wave sweeps across the entire flock in less than a second.

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BirdNote
9:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Great Missoula Flood - Scablands And Plunge Pools

Credit Moo Moo Savaloy

  During the last ice age, a lobe of the ice sheet covering western Canada dammed the Clark Fork River, creating a vast lake in what is now northwestern Montana. Several times during the past 15,000 years, the ice dam broke, sending hundreds of cubic miles of water roaring across the inland Northwest and down the Columbia River Gorge. It left 100-ton boulders scattered across the land, gorges 1000 feet deep, and enormous potholes. Now on a quiet, sunny October day, Mallards (like this female), pintails, and Gadwalls bathe and preen in a pool created by one of the greatest floods the Earth has ever known.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Waterfowl And Lead

Credit Durrell Dew

  Waterfowl must swallow hard particles so their gizzards can grind up hard foods, like grains. Unfortunately, they can't tell a lead pellet from a small pebble. Beginning in 1991, waterfowl hunters were required to switch from lead shotgun pellets to pellets made of non-toxic metals. The switch to non-toxic shot has made a positive difference for waterfowl, like this Trumpeter Swan. Where does your state stand? Check Related Resources to find out!

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BirdNote
9:00 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Cattle Egret - You've Got A Friend In Me

Credit Kenneth Cole Schneider

  Many birds that forage in open country, such as Cattle Egrets, benefit from association with large grazing mammals. The mammals scare up insects as they move, making them more visible to the birds. In the egrets’ native lands in Africa, the birds feed with elephants, rhinos, and Cape buffalos. In the Americas, Cattle Egrets associate with cattle and horses.

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BirdNote
9:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Shorebirds - Not On The Shore

Credit Brent Wellander

  Shorebirds' lives take them to many places other than the shore. Most of the shorebirds we see along our coasts migrate to the Arctic in summer. Here, many nest on the tundra, some along rushing streams, and others on rocky mountainsides. Long-billed Curlews winter on the Florida, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. But this one was seen in a field near Creston, BC, Canada, nearly 500 miles from the coast and 1/2 mile from the nearest body of water, the Kootenay River!

BirdNote
9:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Swainson's Hawks Migrate South

Credit Daniel Sveinsen

In autumn, hundreds of thousands of Swainson's Hawks migrate to South America. With the help of a satellite tracking device, let's follow an individual male. On September 14th, he leaves his breeding territory near Hanna, Alberta; reaches southwest Saskatchewan by September 23rd; passes through Nebraska, October 1st; Tamaulipas, Mexico, on October 7th; Honduras, October 14th; and on the 7th of November, this Swainson's Hawk arrives at Marcos Juarez, Argentina - a migration of more than 6,000 miles.  The American Bird Conservancy has Swainson's Hawk on their watchlist at ABCBirds.org.  Learn more about hawk migration at the Hawkwatch International website.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Sun October 12, 2014

Birds And Berries

Credit Don Spencer

  Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Our little mountain-ash is all alive with [birds.] A dozen robins on it at once ... plucking the berries... A robin will swallow half a dozen berries, at least, in rapid succession..." If you, too, enjoy watching birds eat berries, then consider planting trees and shrubs that produce berries to attract birds (like this American Robin) to your garden. Learn more about "Garden Basics" at Audubon.org.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Sat October 11, 2014

How Evolution Works, Featuring Dr. Mike Webster

Credit Tom Grey

  After breeding in Alaska, some Swainson’s Thrushes migrate across Canada to the East Coast before turning south to Ecuador. Others migrate directly down the Pacific Coast to the same destination. Why are some are traveling twice the distance? Dr. Mike Webster of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology explains the roles of genetic coding and genetic variation in this migratory divide.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Ring-necked Pheasants In The Wild

Credit Tom Grey

  The Ring-necked Pheasant is likely the best-known bird in North America that isn’t native to the continent. Indigenous to Asia, Ring-necked Pheasants were introduced to Oregon in 1881. The birds thrived in rural landscapes for many years, but modern industrial farming practices have diminished pheasant habitat. In some areas, however, wildlife agencies are working with private landowners to create favorable habitats for pheasants, giving the birds the cover they need for feeding, nesting, and roosting through the seasons.

BirdNote
9:00 am
Thu October 9, 2014

The Bird Is The Word

Credit Lori Tingey

The songs on this show, in order, are: 

  • Bird on a Wire, sung by Judy Collins 
  • Selection from Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite
  •  Selection from Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird 
  • Selection from the Trashmen's Surfin' Bird.

Thanks to Lori Tingey for her photo of a funky chicken.

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