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4 amazing bird podcasts we’re listening to right now

No matter what stage of birder you have become, there is a podcast (or many) out there to help you along your journey. Hosts of these birdcasts genuinely love their subject and approach every episode with passion and interest — just as you do when learning about or trying to spot a new species. Take fantastic bird walks (virtually) with your guides to locations you might never experience while hearing and visualizing lifers. Try out these best bird podcasts to enrich your birdwatching experiences.

Woman looks through binoculars at a bird
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Casual Birder

“Casual” about sums this one up. Host Suzy Buttress loves birds and wants to inspire others to notice these beautiful creatures as part of daily life. While she frequently talks about bird walks, even more, this show emphasizes that we can all glance out the window now and then to spot birds in the yard or garden. You’ll still hear about her strolls, though, including recordings of songs and sounds that grab Suzy as she explores much of England, looking for and listening to birds. Guests contribute their own experiences as well — both casual birders and experts in the field. Her focus extends to conservation and information on endangered birds and the challenges all avians face today. If you want to dive into the world of birding (or just dip your toe in to start), try this podcast as an introduction. And follow Suzy’s footsteps to begin taking an extra look at species we see in everyday life.

American Birding Podcast

One of the many offerings of the American Birding Association (ABA), this bird podcast looks into birds around North America (and occasionally beyond). At the top of each episode, we get to hear the latest in rare-bird news. ABA works carefully with other organizations to track birds and work to preserve their environments. Nate Swick hosts this guide to discovering the world of birds. Part of what makes this particular show special is its focus on travel, something of great importance to birding and the ABA. Highlights showcase the ultimate birder vacations and sightings, sharing the first-person experience from guests who have seen it all (or at least lots of different birds). One other thing that helps make this show significant is its focus on climate change and how it affects birders, birds, and bird habitats. Between episodes, keep up to date on rare birds and other news on Twitter or their website.

Bird sits at feeder eating a nut
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Field Guides

OK, this isn’t just birds, but it always delivers. More nature documentary than traditional podcast, this one really takes you out into the wild (literally) by recording much of the episode on sight. Both nature lovers, hosts Bill and Steve cover every aspect of the chosen topic (often recommended by a fan) in their monthly podcast. You will learn everything you have ever wanted to know (and then some) about the bird of the month, including the taxonomy, history, and habitat of the species in the spotlight. Somewhat unique among birding podcasts, this one covers bird species from top to bottom. It’s more fun than you can imagine to study just about every aspect of an animal. Special guests often round out the episodes, bringing expertise about the particular topic that our hosts discuss.

Talkin’ Birds

In the style of an old-school radio show, Ray Brown takes you on a weekly joyride to find the best of birding. He combines birdcalls with the latest on social media, a mystery bird contest, and tips for every backyard birder. There’s only one way to describe this show: fun. You’ll be treated to sound effects along with chirping for a truly lovable show. Of course, mixed in with the entertainment is a rundown on different species and the latest happenings around the country for our feathered friends. With a particular focus on conservation, Ray provides a lot of info about what the average citizen can do to help keep birds healthy and happy in the wild. Each episode follows a familiar pattern, so it’s your weekly catch-up on all things bird.

It’s crucial for all birders to help these fragile creatures, and so many of the podcasts fulfill their aim to protect species around the world. The good news is, our hosts want to find ways for each of us individually to care for birds — everything from reducing plastic consumption to participating in backyard bird counts. There’s so much to love and a lot that everyone can act on to become a good steward for birds and appreciate them in the process.

Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
Why do birds fly into windows? The truth is kind of sad
There's a lot you can do to keep neighborhood birds from flying into windows
Bird takes flight off a branch in slow motion

Watching birds from the windows is one of the many perks of living near wildlife: we can stay warm and gaze out on the flocks that frequent our feeders. But sadly, these windows that allow us to view the outdoors can harm the creatures in it. Animals experience the world differently from us, and they see differently, too. Therefore, it's important to take steps to make your windows visible to birds (and other fauna) in order to help spare them from unnecessary death or injury. But why do birds fly into windows? We'll explain what the problem is and also give you some advice on how to prevent it. With a few simple tricks, you'll still get to enjoy the bird show and keep them from getting hurt. 

Why do birds fly into windows?
Turn off the lights inside and go out during the early morning to look at your windows. You'll likely see a dim version of your own yard reflected back to you. While it only gives you a moment's pause, birds don't understand that a plant can show up in a piece of glass but not really be there. Unfortunately, this means when they fly into your windows, they're actually trying to get into the trees. That's because there's a wide-open sky in the panes of your home welcoming the avians of your area.

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Try out these 6 different kinds of best bird feeders to attract your feathered friends
House finch eats at nyger feeder

Bird feeders come in multiple shapes and sizes because birds do, too. Each feeder accommodates a different feeding style, and many are enticing to a particular species. Before setting up your feeders, think first about what kinds of flyers you want to attract — and which ones are likely to oblige. Then, once you have a good bird-watching list, scout out the right locations and the best feeders to attract them. You can put out all these for the widest array of visitors or focus on a few types and get the best setup for just those eaters. Here are the six best bird feeders and what feathered friends you'll probably see feeding at them.

What are the different types of bird feeders?
You probably have a bunch of different dishes in your home — plates, bowls, maybe a gravy boat. Our avian guests have the same needs. After all, some birds eat seeds, some animal fat, some flowers, and some nectar. Take a look through these top types and figure out which one — or ones — belong in your yard.
Hummingbird feeders
Putting up a hummingbird feeder all but ensures you'll add a splash of color to your life. This one will bring in gorgeous birds and look nice in the window. Of course, the drawback is that you need to clean it often by hand. Don't worry: A little soap and water will do the trick, and its glass construction means it will last a long time. Feeding hummingbirds saves your wallet, too, since you can make all the food yourself. Boil 1 part sugar and 4 parts water to create this concoction and refrigerate any left over right away. It'll take your neighborhood birds a minute to find their new restaurant, but once they've discovered it (and given a rave review to their friends), you'll never run out of visitors, provided you keep the food flowing. 
Hopper feeders
This is a classic bird feeder that adorns nearly every yard at one time or another. You'll get large birds — and probably large squirrels — as regulars at this one. Try hanging it from a strategic spot or mounting it on a pole to avoid squirrels, but that might be a losing battle. Instead, focus on attracting the birds you do like with the proper seed for them (don't forget to keep it full). We suspect you'll spot a menagerie here, especially jays and cardinals since it's welcoming to bigger animals. Unlike the hummingbird feeder, you won't bring this one indoors often, and should make sure it's reachable by hose or bucket for proper cleaning. 
Tube feeders
The smaller birds of the community will thank you for this tube feeder, as the little perches and openings go well with tiny feet and beaks. Watch for a mix of sparrows, chickadees, and titmice who enjoy having a spot of their own, and look at purchasing a blend that encourages them. However, a small feeder means you have to fill it regularly. It might take a few weeks, but you should get an idea of how often the birds start begging for a refill. Finding a spot can prove tricky because you never know when the guests of honor will alight on the other side. Place it between windows to best see every angle. 

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Myth or fact: throwing uncooked rice will hurt birds (you might guess wrong)
Sparrows eat rice out of a man's hand

Everyone knows of a few things that pets can't eat: cats and lilies, dogs and chocolate, birds and rice. Or wait, is that actually a problem? Is rice bad for birds? While you may have been to a wedding where the classic tradition was replaced with a bag of Feathered Friend, that might in fact not be necessary. After all, our happy singers eat other seeds and grains with no problems all the time. So can birds eat rice and how would you feed it to them? Here's what you need to know about offering a snack to your little birds.

Can birds eat uncooked rice?
The myth goes that you can't feed birds uncooked rice because it will absorb all the water in their stomachs and kill them. Depending on who you heard it from, you may even get the version where it causes them to explode by cooking inside their stomachs. One minute, they're eating a grain of white rice and the next it has blown up to many times its size and taking the bird with it. It sounds a little out there, and it should give you pause cause it's not true. Remember that when you make rice on the stove you boil it at 212 degrees; if a bird's stomach was that hot, it would have much bigger problems. Plus, keep in mind that seeds and other grains like corn and grasses are all bird food. In the wild, many birds eat rice as well and they certainly don't blow up because of it. 
Can birds eat cooked rice?
Yup, just as with uncooked rice, cooked rice is also fine for our backyard visitors. Some species like pigeons and doves will enjoy it a lot and it works well for them in winter especially (when they want easy-access, filling food). It doesn't really matter what type you go for as birds won't notice the difference between short vs long grain. The one thing you need to consider closely is that the meal should be totally unseasoned. That means no salt or other spices, not even herbs. Lastly, don't give the birds warm food since you won't want them eating something fresh out of the pot, but otherwise, they'll certainly enjoy sharing your meal when you have stir fry for dinner. 

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