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BirdNote
6:31AM and 8:59AM during Morning Edition

BirdNote is an independent media production organization that brings joy, inspiration, and hope to millions of people around the world who value birds and the environment we share. By telling vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face, BirdNote inspires listeners to care about the natural world — and take steps to protect it. In addition to their flagship show, BirdNote Daily, they also produce popular longform podcast series, Bring Birds Back and Threatened, which are available to listen to online and on podcast streaming apps. To learn more about BirdNote, visit BirdNote.org.

  • 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 blood that goes down to the feet is already cold, so the birds don't lose much heat. The small amount that goes to the feet is likely just enough to keep the feet from freezing.More info and transcript at BirdNote.org. 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 tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.
  • 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 Peninsula is famous for its big flocks of water birds and concentrations of migrating songbirds. Both National Audubon and American Bird Conservancy have designated it an Important Bird Area, or IBA. More info and transcript at BirdNote.org. 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 tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.
  • 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. She has since founded the Alveus Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal sanctuary and virtual conservation education center. More info and transcript at BirdNote.org. 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 tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.
  • 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 the group. This was especially true when the flock moved quickly between sites, when staying organized is key.More info and transcript at BirdNote.org. 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 tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.
  • 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 BirdNote.org. 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 tax-deductible gift makes these shows possible.