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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

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

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.

Editors' Recommendations

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…
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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5 amazing hamster habitats under $50 your furry friend needs right now
Girl plays with her hamster in a cage outside

So you've adopted a cute new hamster buddy. Great! Now you need to set him up with a comfortable new home. The perfect hamster habitat will vary greatly depending on your animal and your own home. You might decide that you want to erect a next-level tube city with branches that extend up and around your living room, or you might choose to go for a multi-story duplex for your new friend. No matter what you wind up going for, you'll want to make sure that the cage has enough space and that you provide plenty of exercise opportunities, both inside the hamster's housing and out of it. 

Why does my hamster want a tube?
In the wild, hamsters burrow and spend much of their lives underground, in part to protect themselves from predators. You can recreate that for them with lots of fun tubing either snaking through the room or underneath the substrate. Your hamster will feel safe inside and get some exercise climbing around in them. Be aware, though, that your hamster still needs some additional recess time out of the cage and getting in laps on his wheel. 
What are the best affordable hamster habitats?
The best part of designing your new enclosure is getting creative. Start with one of these setups and then make it your own by adding accessories. Check out these five low-cost, high-quality hamster habitats for your little guy as a jumping-off point.
WARE Chew Proof Small Animal Critter Cage
Many owners choose a basic wire cage to promote airflow and give their pet lots of uninterrupted space to move about. The great thing about this one is you can add just about any design that you want: tubing, a little home, or other toys. It's also really easy to clean because it comes apart and can be wiped or sprayed down. Reviewers love the big door for ease of access and the close-fitting and easily assembled parts. 
You & Me Small Animal High Rise Tank Topper
With this topper, you can make a two-story cage (though you'll need to provide the tank). You can separate the two halves by keeping the hamster wheel and some underground hideouts on the bottom and then adding swings and see-saws on top. Your hamster will also be able to run up and down for a little extra fun and movement. "It fits nicely on the 10-gallon tank and has enough room 'upstairs' for wheel, sand bath, food, water, chew toy, and little coconut hut," says a happy customer.
Kaytee CritterTrail Portable Petite Habitat
You can use this as a travel/secondary cage, or you can get a whole set of the different CritterTrail hutches and connect them to make a giant home. It comes with the wheel and dishes too, so it's up to you to decide if you want to attach the habitat to another enclosure or make a tube city. If you decide to use the enclosure as a carrying case, you can include all the must-haves in here and use the handle for easy carrying. It's important to note that this isn't really enough space for even a small hamster, so don't consider this a primary habitat. However, you can certainly add it to a model that comes without accessories. 
Habitrail OVO Adventure Pack, Multi-colored
Add a lot of extra pizzazz with this set that includes tubing and a den. Bonus: it even glows in the dark! One set will add a lot of mental and physical stimulation for your pet, but you can also get multiple sets and combine them in multiple ways. One buyer comments: "My hamster is living the dream with tunnels and hideouts and space! [This is a] great product [that is] easy to attach [and easy to clean]. No complaints!" The one downside is that, as with any extensive tubing, the pieces can be more difficult to clean because you'll need to take each piece off to wipe it down. 
Large Long Crossover Tube Habitat
This cage has all the bells and whistles, making it the ideal hamster 'hotel.' It's sort of a combination of a few of the others on this list because it has a mezzanine level on each side with a bridge to connect them, but it also has tubing around the top. The ladders lead down to the bottom level, which you can deck out by adding your own below-ground tubing or other playthings. "We couldn’t be happier!" raves one review. "The cage has tons of space to run around in. Our hamster loves the tubes that go over the top of the cage."

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You caved and bought baby chicks. Now what?
Two chicks sit in the grass

Spring brings out the pet parent instinct in all of us — we see so many baby bunnies and chicks that it's natural to want to add one to the family. However, we recommend that potential pet parents think carefully before bringing home any new animal. Everyone in the household needs to be sure it's a good fit, including other creatures already living there. But if you truly couldn't help yourself and impulsively adopted a baby chicken or two, we're here to help you figure out how to care for them successfully.

How do I take care of chicks?
First, you need a pen and then a coop to keep the chicks in. You can buy a coop, or you can build one if you're handy. Make sure it's sturdy, warm (more on that in a minute), and protected from predators. We all know what happens when a fox gets into the chicken coop, and just the stress of dogs or cats could harm little chicks. Flooding when it rains can also cause problems, so you'll notice that most coops are elevated off the ground to keep out excess water as well as local predators.

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