Bluebird

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Bluebird
/

Chapter 7 of Wake-Robin, by naturalist John Burroughs.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Rock Creek, Piney Branch, and Wilderness beyond the Capitol

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Rock Creek, Piney Branch, and Wilderness beyond the Capitol
/

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Birds’ Nests, Part 2

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Birds' Nests, Part 2
/

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Birds’ Nests, Part 1

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Birds' Nests, Part 1
/

Beginning Chapter 4 of Wake-Robin, by naturalist John Burroughs. A detailed look at the nesting habits of Red-headed Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Woodpeckers, Pine Siskins, Cedar Waxwings, Robins and  Indigo Buntings. Burroughs marvels at the dirty jobs parent birds must endure to keep their nests clean for their young. Any parent who has changed a dirty diaper can relate.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Return of the Birds - Bird Nests

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Lower and Upper Ironworks and the Abandoned Town, Tahawus

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
The Lower and Upper Ironworks and the Abandoned Town, Tahawus
/

The second half of the third Chapter, the Adirondacks. Continuing with a timeless bit of bird therapy, Burroughs wakes from a nap in the woods to find himself under scrutiny of the wood birds. Visiting Lake Sanford, fishing in Nate’s Pond and a 12 mile hike to the Lower Ironworks with views of Mount Mercy, Mount Macinyre and Mount Golden, the monarchs of the Adirondacks. Exploring the Upper Ironworks town of Tahawus, and nearby Henderson Lake.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Adirondacks

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
The Adirondacks
/

The start of chapter three of Wake-Robin by naturalist, John Burroughs. Burroughs and a group of fishing companions depart for the Boreas Reach near Lake Placid, New York. Burroughs demonstrates his skill as a trout fisherman, earning the respect of their guide.

Hunting at night on an open lake, the starlight reflected in the center gave the dark timberline at the water’s edge a belt of utter blackness, a portal between the real and the imaginary, the land of shadows  and specters.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel 

Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

The Forenoon Chorus of Finches, Thrushes and Warblers

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
The Forenoon Chorus of Finches, Thrushes and Warblers
/

This episode concludes the second chapter of Wake-Robin, by John Burroughs. Lounging on a couch of moss in the shady woods, the gentleman rambler and naturalist allows his attention to wander from species to species. He points out the the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and the song of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Scarlet Tanager. He marvels at the Purple Linnet’s song and chooses it to be the finest songster of the finches.

By a brook, Burroughs finds a cowbird nestling crowding out the resident Canada Warbler hatchlings, and decides to intervene on behalf of the Warblers. Moving on, he details the partridge’s drumming. He arrives at a reclaimed road and finds a pair of Mourning Warblers and their cousins, the Chestnut-sided Warbler. Leaving the Barkpeelings, Burroughs finds the Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo mingling in the hemlock, beech and birch.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Return of the Birds - Episode 8

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

Reverence for the Hermit Thrush, Disdain for the Kingbird and Pewee, and Banter with the Ovenbird

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Reverence for the Hermit Thrush, Disdain for the Kingbird and Pewee, and Banter with the Ovenbird
/

Nineteenth-century naturalist and essayist, John Burroughs gives a detailed account of the Hermit Thrush’s song. For him, it is the finest sound in nature; the peace and deep solemn joy only the finest souls may know. Commentary about the cowardly Eastern Kingbird. The Wood Pewee’s plainness. Praise for the Ovenbird and the Louisiana Waterthrush.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Hermit Thrush

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Hermit Thrush

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Phoebe

Veery

Wood Thrush

Ovenbird

Louisiana Waterthrush

Intro music: Kai Engel 
Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

In the Hemlocks, a Guided Tour of a Primitive, Undisturbed Forest and the Avifauna Living There

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
In the Hemlocks, a Guided Tour of a Primitive, Undisturbed Forest and the Avifauna Living There
/

The start of chapter 2, In the Hemlocks. Author and gentleman rambler, John Burroughs, begins guided tour in the hemlocks. Years before, townsfolk, tanners, and lumbermen attempted in vain to tame and exploit the grove. But nature proved uncooperative and the effort abandoned. By his account, the spirit and energy of the wilderness repaired and rejuvenated the injuries and offer refuge to all. We meet the Red-eyed Vireo and hear his contented song. For Burroughs, the Bobolink’s song expresses hilarity; the Sparrow’s, faith; the Bluebird’s, love; the Catbird’s, pride, White-eyed Vireo, self-consciousness; Hermit Thrush, spiritual solemnity; the Robin’s, a military tone. 

In-depth reviews of the Snow Bird and Winter Wren’s song and demeanor, the Veery’s mellow expression, the unfortunately named Blackburnian Warbler and the Northern Parula. 

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Return of the Birds - In the Hemlocks with the Red-eyed Vireo

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Red-eyed Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Bobolink

Vesper Sparrow

Eastern Bluebird

Gray Catbird

White-eyed Vireo

Hermit Thrush

American Robin

Snow Bunting

Winter Wren 

Veery

Blackburnian Warbler

Northern Parula

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

The Scarlet Tanager and the Dog Days of August, and, Finally, the Silent End of the Season

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
The Scarlet Tanager and the Dog Days of August, and, Finally, the Silent End of the Season
/

Reaching the end of Chapter 1 in John Burroughs’s classic nature study, Wake-Robin, the gentleman rambler describes the birds of July, the Scarlet Tanager, compares the Peewee’s hunting prowess and efficiency on the wing to the Chipping Sparrow’s, or Socialis’s, fumbling pursuit of a month. The marvel and spectacle when the pigeon hawk, now known as a Merlin, unflinchingly chases a goldfinch. Concluding with the late season silence and August’s departures.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Return of the Birds - Gallery 5 Build

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, White-eyed Vireos, and a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush Bird Songs

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, White-eyed Vireos, and a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush Bird Songs
/

Naturalist John Burroughs quotes ‘To the Cuckoo’ by William Wordsworth. He considers in detail the White-eyed Vireo’s skilled mimicry in her mid-summer song and how it may rival the mockingbird’s own ability. Burroughs shares observations on how elevation might impact and effect the distribution of species in the Town of Highlands, New York.  And concludes with a comparison of the vocal quality and musicianship between the hermit and the wood thrushes.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Return of the Birds - Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, White-eyed Vireos, and a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush Bird Songs

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at gutenberg.org or archive.org.

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Welcoming the Birds of March, April and May

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Welcoming the Birds of March, April and May
/
Return of the Birds - Welcoming the Birds of March, April and May

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at gutenberg.org or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Great Horned Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow Portrait

Baltimore Oriole

Photo of the Week - Male Baltimore Oriole

Wood Thrush

746 - WOOD THRUSH (6-10-2017) howell woods learning center, johnston co, nc -01 (1)

Introduction: Presenting Live Birds and not just Stuffed and Labeled Specimens

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Introduction: Presenting Live Birds and not just Stuffed and Labeled Specimens
/
Return of the Birds - Audiobook Podcast - Introduction

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at archive.org.

Second Edition Trailer

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Second Edition Trailer
/

It’s the best time of the year. The parade begins. As Winter retreats Spring leans in. The birds are returning. And so is our show. 

Return of the birds is the serialized audiobook podcast of the nature study, Wake Robin, by John Burroughs. It’s the best story about birds I’ve ever read out loud.

The podcast combines Burroughs’s anticipation and delight that the birds bring to the changing seasons with field recordings of the bird songs he so accurately describes woven into the narration.

First published in 1871, Return of the Birds is a podcast 149 years in the making.

Come join the gentleman rambler on the shady trails of the Catskills, the Adirondacks and the fields and farms around the nation’s Capitol. 

Return of the Birds is 18-episodes and appropriate for all ages. You can binge listen to the first edition now or enjoy the weekly episodes of this new, second edition as they’re released.

Episode 18: Epilogue – 149 Years Later

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 18: Epilogue - 149 Years Later
/

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 17: In praise of John Audubon, with a couple backhanded compliments and a correction

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 17: In praise of John Audubon, with a couple backhanded compliments and a correction
/

John Burroughs praises Audubon’s life’s work, yet questions some of Audubon’s assertions about comparisons between the Louisiana Waterthrush’s song and the European Nightingale’s, the Bobolink’s and the Blue Grosbeak’s. Burroughs appreciates the volume of Audubon’s catalog, and offers two of his own to add to the collection.

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 16: An Invitation

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 16: An Invitation
/

Burroughs invites you to become a birder, describing the thrill of seeing the natural world around you through a new lens. 

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 15: The Bluebird

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 15: The Bluebird
/

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Eastern Bluebird

European Robin

Western Bluebird

House Wren

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 14: Strolling through Rock Creek and Piney Branch, Wilderness beyond the Capitol with the Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat and Cardinal

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 14: Strolling through Rock Creek and Piney Branch, Wilderness beyond the Capitol with the Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat and Cardinal
/

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Wood Thrush
Veery
Kentucky Warbler
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
Northern Water Thrush
Yellow-breasted Chat
Cardinal Grosbeak
Red-headed Woodpecker

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Wood Thrush

2018 Walk for the Woods Bacon Ridge Natural Area 446 Cropped

Veery

IMG_5650

Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky warbler

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Northern Water Thrush

799 - NORTHERN WATER-THRUSH (6-14-2019) slate-colored, sockeyerd, north of willow, ak -03

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat, July 2015--Warren Bielenberg

Cardinal Grosbeak

Northern Cardinal

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Episode 13: Spring in the Capitol, the Sylvian Chorus, Bluebirds, Robins, Snowbirds, Meadowlarks, Sparrows and Crows

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 13: Spring in the Capitol, the Sylvian Chorus, Bluebirds, Robins, Snowbirds, Meadowlarks, Sparrows and Crows
/
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org. The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 12: Snowbird nests, Grosbeak nests, Hummingbird nests, and the Baltimore Oriole builds the best nest of all

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 12: Snowbird nests, Grosbeak nests, Hummingbird nests, and the Baltimore Oriole builds the best nest of all
/
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org. The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Blue Grosbeak

922 - BLUE GROSBEAK (8-10-10) yard, west of patagonia, scc, az  (2)

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo, Kentwood MI, 30 April 2013

Mourning Warbler

816 - MOURNING WARBLER (6-4-2015) coos co, nh -01

Red-tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

Baltimore Oriole

Photo of the Week - Male Baltimore Oriole

Red-eyed Vireo

630 - RED-EYED VIREO ( (5-21-2015) barre, worcester co, ma -03

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher

Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher

Eastern Wood Peewee

IMG_5031-85.jpg

Episode 11: Birds’ Nests and the Lengths Parent Birds Go to Keeping the Place Clean

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 11: Birds' Nests and the Lengths Parent Birds Go to Keeping the Place Clean
/
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org. The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Cedar Waxwing

Photo of the week - Cedar waxwing (MA)

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

American Robin

Juvenile American robin, Mammoth Hot Springs

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting (male)

Episode 10: Hiking to the Upper Ironworks and Indian Pass, Taking the Pulse of Mother Nature

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 10: Hiking to the Upper Ironworks and Indian Pass, Taking the Pulse of Mother Nature
/
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org. The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Cedar Waxwing

Photo of the week - Cedar waxwing (MA)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Episode 9: August in the Adirondacks, Deer Hunting at Night

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 9: August in the Adirondacks, Deer Hunting at Night
/
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org. The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Purple Finch

FINCH, PURPLE (4-20-07) male -2

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin

Vesper Sparrow

877 - VESPER SPARROW (9-27-10) san rafael valley grasslands, scc, az  (2)

White-throated Sparrow

Wite-Throated Sparrow

American Robin

American Robin at Goat Lick

White-breasted Nuthatch

Durango - White-breasted nuthatch

Episode 8: Partridge Drumming, the Cowbirds’ deception, and so many Warblers in the Barkpeelings

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 8: Partridge Drumming, the Cowbirds' deception, and so many Warblers in the Barkpeelings
/

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

WDS Foundation Awards Grant for Return of the Birds Podcast

Return of the Birds | 2019 Voyager Class – WDS Foundation Grant Recipient

Return of the Birds was recognized at the 2019 World Domination Summit , a gathering of creative people living remarkable lives in a conventional world. The WDS Foundation awarded us with a Scholarship For Real Life to help with the production of Return of the Birds. It was amazing. The Foundation’s Board – Jolie, Jessica, Asha, Chris, Sean, Dave and Mo were welcoming, gracious and patient with my thousands of questions.

And please look out for my Voyager Sisters, Keonna Ollison, Yuliya Patsay, and Laura Peña. They’re bringing it, and I am humbled to be included in their group.

Episode 7: Reverence for the Hermit Thrush, but None for the Pewee

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 7: Reverence for the Hermit Thrush, but None for the Pewee
/

The heavenly Hermit Thrush. Commentary about the cowardly Eastern Kingbird. The Wood Pewee’s plainness. Praise for the Ovenbird.

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 6: Into the Hemlocks

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 6: Into the Hemlocks
/

“And what is a bird without its song? It seems to me I do not know a bird till  I’ve heard its voice.”

John Burroughs’s second essay, Into the Hemlocks featuring the red-eyed vireo, the winter wren and veery. Thoughts on taking specimens for study, Blackburnian warbler and the blue yellow-backed warbler, now known as the Northern Parula.

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 5: Scarlet Tanager and the End of the Season

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 5: Scarlet Tanager and the End of the Season
/

The scarlet tanager and the birds of summer. Observations of the hawk and the end of the season.

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Episode 4: Veery, Grey Catbird and a Snake Encounter

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 4: Veery, Grey Catbird and a Snake Encounter
/

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush

Vesper Sparrow

SPARROW, VESPER (9-27-10) san rafael valley grasslands, scc, az -04c

Veery

IMG_8167-76.jpg

Grey Catbird

Gray Catbird

Episode 3: Welcome Back Cuckoos, Warblers & Thrushes

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 3: Welcome Back Cuckoos, Warblers & Thrushes
/

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Intro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on Grass

Outro music: The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps: United States National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner)

Download Wake-Robin by John Burroughs in e-reader format at gutenberg.org or archive.org.

The Creative Commons and public domain contains a wealth of images, music and more. The images used in these show notes link back to the contributors.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

443 - YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (6-30-12) with both cormorants, patagonia lake, scc, az -03

Bobolink

Bobolink Birds Hill Park.Manitoba

Black-billed Cuckoo

Black-billed Cuckoo, Miles City, MT, June 3, 2002

Field Sparrow

Birds - Field Sparrow by Laurie Sheppard

Vesper Sparrow

877 - VESPER SPARROW (9-27-10) san rafael valley grasslands, scc, az  (2)

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

White-eyed Vireo

Birds - White-eyed Vireo by Jesus Moreno

Winter Wren

694 - WINTER WREN (2-12-2017) patagonia lake, santa cruz co, az -01c

Hooded Warbler

819 - HOODED WARBLER (8-28-09) cerro alto cg road, slo co, ca  (4)

Worm-eating Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler

Water Thrush

WATERTHRUSH, NORTHERN (10-5-09) oceano c g -04

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher

Blue-winged Warbler

802 - BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (5 -25-2015) middlesex co, ma -01

Northern Mockingbird

Northen Mockingbird

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Episode 2: Welcome Back Flycatchers, Woodpeckers & Thrushes

Return of the Birds
Return of the Birds
Episode 2: Welcome Back Flycatchers, Woodpeckers & Thrushes
/
Click or tap to read the Episode 2 transcript

I could wish Robin less native and plebeian in one respect,--the
building of his nest. Its coarse material and rough masonry are
creditable neither to his skill as a workman nor to his taste as an
artist. I am the more forcibly reminded of his deficiency in this
respect from observing yonder hummingbird's nest, which is a marvel of
fitness and adaptation, a proper setting for this winged gem,--the
body of it composed of a white, felt-like substance, probably the down
of some plant or the wool of some worm, and toned down in keeping with
the branch on which it sits by minute tree-lichens, woven together by
threads as fine and grail as gossamer. From Robin's good looks and
musical turn, we might reasonably predict a domicile of him as clean
and handsome a nest as the king-bird's, whose harsh jingle, compared
with Robin's evening melody, is as the clatter of pots and kettles
beside the tone of a flute. I love his note and ways better even than
those of the orchard starling or the Baltimore oriole; yet his nest,
compared with theirs, is a half-subterranean hut contrasted with a
Roman villa. There is something courtly and poetical in a pensile
nest. Next to a castle in the air is a dwelling suspended to the
slender branch of a tall tree, swayed and rocked forever by the wind.
Why need wings be afraid of falling? Why build only where boys can
climb? After all, we must set it down to the account of Robin's
democratic turn: he is no aristocrat, but one of the people; and
therefore we should expect stability in his workmanship, rather than
elegance.

Another April bird, which makes her appearance sometimes earlier and
sometimes later than Robin, and whose memory I fondly cherish, is the
phoebe-bird, the pioneer of the flycatchers. In the inland farming
districts, I used to notice her, on some bright morning about Easter
Day, proclaiming her arrival, with much variety of motion and
attitude, from the peak of the barn or hay-shed. As yet, you may have
heard only the plaintive, homesick note of the bluebird, or the faint
trill of the song sparrow; and Phoebe's clear, vivacious assurance of
her veritable bodily presence among us again is welcomed by all ears.
At agreeable intervals in her lay she describes a circle or an ellipse
in the air, ostensibly prospecting for insects, but really, I suspect,
as an artistic flourish, thrown in to make up in some way for the
deficiency of her musical performance. If plainness of dress indicates
powers of song as it usually does, then Phoebe ought to be unrivaled
in musical ability, for surely that ashen-gray suit is the superlative
of plainness; and that form, likewise, would hardly pass for a
"perfect figure" of a bird. The seasonableness of her coming, however,
and her civil, neighborly ways, shall make up for all deficiencies in
song and plumage. After a few weeks phoebe is seldom seen, except as
she darts from her moss-covered nest beneath some bridge or shelving
cliff.

Another April comer, who arrives shortly after Robin-redbreast, with
whom he associates both at this season and in the autumn, is the
gold-winged woodpecker, alias "high-hole," alias "flicker," alias
"yarup." He is an old favorite of my boyhood, and his note to me means
very much. He announces his arrival by a long, loud call, repeated
from the dry branch of some tree, or a stake in the fence,--a
thoroughly melodious April sound. I think how Solomon finished that
beautiful description of spring, "And the voice of the turtle is heard
in the land," and see that a description of spring in this farming
country, to be equally characteristic, should culminate in like
manner,--"And the call of the high-hole comes up from the wood."

It is a loud, strong, sonorous call, and does not seem to imply an
answer, but rather to subserve some purpose of love or music. It is
"Yarup's" proclamation of peace and good-will to all. On looking at
the matter closely, I perceive that most birds, not denominated
songsters, have, in the spring, some note or sound or call that hints
of a song, and answers imperfectly the end of beauty and art. As a
"livelier iris changes on the burnished dove," and the fancy of the
young man turns lightly to thoughts of his pretty cousin...ew...so the same
renewing spirit touches the "silent singers," and they are no longer
dumb; faintly they lisp the first syllables of the marvelous tale.
Witness the clear sweet whistle of the gray-crested titmouse,--the
soft, nasal piping of the nuthatch,--the amorous, vivacious warble of
the bluebird,--the long, rich note of the meadowlark,--the whistle of
the quail,--the drumming of the partridge,--the animation and
loquacity of the swallows, and the like. Even the hen has a homely,
contented carol; and I credit the owls with a desire to fill the night
with music. Al birds are incipient or would be songsters in the
spring. I find corroborative evidence of this even in the crowing of
the cock. The flowering of the maple is not so obvious as that of the
magnolia; nevertheless, there is actual inflorescence.

Few writers award any song to that familiar little sparrow, the
Socialis; yet who that has observed him sitting by the wayside, and
repeating, with devout attitude, that fine sliding chant, does not
recognize the neglect? Who has heard the snowbird sing? Yet he has a
lisping warble very savory to the ear. I have heard him indulge in it
even in February.

Even the cow bunting feels the musical tendency, and aspires to its
expression, with the rest. Perched upon the topmost branch beside his
mate or mates,--for he is quite a polygamist, and usually has two or
three demure little ladies in faded black beside him,--generally in
the early part of the day, he seems literally to vomit up his notes.
Apparently with much labor and effort, they gurgle and blubber up out
of him, falling on the ear with a peculiar subtile ring, as of turning
water from a glass bottle, and not without a certain pleasing cadence.

Neither is the common woodpecker entirely insensible to the wooing of
the spring, and, like the partridge, testifies his appreciation of
melody after quite a primitive fashion. Passing through the woods on
some clear, still morning in March, while the metallic ring and
tension of winter are still in the earth and air, the silence is
suddenly broken by long, resonant hammering upon a dry limb or stub.
It is Downy beating a reveille to spring. In the utter stillness and
amid the rigid forms we listen with pleasure; and, as it comes to my
ear oftener at this season than at any other, I freely exonerate the
author of it from the imputation of any gastronomic motives, and
credit him with a genuine musical performance.

It is to be expected, therefore, that "yellow-hammer" will respond to
the general tendency, and contribute his part to the spring chorus.
His April call is his finest touch, his most musical expression.

I recall an ancient maple standing sentry to a large sugar-bush, that,
year after year, afforded protection to a brood of yellow-hammers in
its decayed heart. A week or two before nesting seemed actually to
have begun, three or four of these birds might be seen, on almost any
bright morning, gamboling and courting amid its decayed branches.
Sometimes you would hear only a gentle persuasive cooing, or a quiet
confidential chattering,--then that long, loud call, taken up by
first one, then another, as they sat about upon the naked
limbs,--anon, a sort of wild, rollicking laughter, intermingled with
various cries, yelps, and squeals, as if some incident had excited
their mirth and ridicule. Whether this social hilarity and
boisterousness is in celebration of the pairing or mating ceremony, or
whether it is only a sort of annual "house-warming" common among
high-holes on resuming their summer quarters, is a question upon which
I reserve my judgment.

Unlike most of his kinsmen, the golden-wing prefers the fields and the
borders of the forest to the deeper seclusion of the woods, and hence,
contrary to the habit of his tribe, obtains most of his subsistence
from the ground, probing it for ants and crickets. He is not quite
satisfied with being a woodpecker. He courts the society of the robin
and the finches, abandons the trees for the meadow, and feeds eagerly
upon berries and grain. What may be the final upshot of this course of
living is a question worth the attention of Darwin. Will his taking to
the ground and his pedestrian feats result in lengthening his legs,
his feeding upon berries and grains subdue his tints and soften his
voice, and his associating with Robin put a song into his heart?

Indeed, what would be more interesting than the history of our birds
for the last two or three centuries. There can be no doubt that the
presence of man has exerted a very marked and friendly influence upon
them, since they so multiply in his society. The birds of California,
it is said, were mostly silent till after its settlement, and I doubt
if the Indians heard the wood thrush as we hear him. Where did the
bobolink disport himself before there were meadows in the North and
rice fields in the South? Was he the same lithe, merry-hearted beau
then as now? And the sparrow, the lark, and the goldfinch, birds that
seem so indigenous to the open fields and so adverse to the woods,--we
cannot conceive of their existence in a vast wilderness and without
man.

But to return. The song sparrow, that universal favorite and
firstling of the spring, comes before April, and its simple strain
gladdens all hearts.

May is the month of the swallows and the orioles. There are many other
distinguished arrivals, indeed nine tenths of the birds are here by
the last week in May, yet the swallows and the orioles are the most
conspicuous. The bright plumage of the latter seems really like an
arrival from the tropics. I see them dash through the blossoming
trees, and all the forenoon hear their incessant warbling and wooing.
The swallows dive and chatter about the barn, or squeak and build
beneath the eaves; the partridge drums in the fresh sprouting woods;
the long, tender note of the meadowlark comes up from the meadow; and
at sunset, from every marsh and pond come the ten thousand voices of
the hylas. May is the transition month, and exists to connect April
and June, the root with the flower.

With June the cup is full, our hearts are satisfied, there is no more
to be desired. The perfection of the season, among other things, has
brought the perfection of the song and the plumage of the birds. The
master artists are all here; and the expectations excited by the robin
and the song sparrow are fully justified. The thrushes have all come;
and I sit down upon the first rock, with hands full of the pink
azalea, to listen. With me the cuckoo does not arrive till June; and
often the goldfinch, the kingbird, the scarlet tanager delay their
coming till then. In the meadows the bobolink is in all his glory; in
the high pastures the field sparrow sings his breezy vesper-hymn; and
the woods are unfolding to the music of the thrushes.

The cuckoo is one of the most solitary birds of our forests, and is
strangely tame and quiet, appearing equally untouched by joy or grief,
fear or anger. Something remote seems ever weighing upon his mind. His
note or call is as of one lost or wandering, and to the farmer is
prophetic of rain. Amid the general joy and the sweet assurance of
things, I love to listen to the strange clairvoyant call. Heard a
quarter of a mile away, from out the depths of the forest, there is
something peculiarly weird and monkish about it. Wordsworth's lines
upon the European species apply equally well to ours:--"O blithe
new-comer! I have heard, I hear thee and rejoice: O cuckoo! shall I
call thee bird? Or but a wandering voice?

"While I am lying on the grass,
Thy loud note smites my ear!
From hill to hill it seems to pass,
At once far off and near!

"Thrice welcome, darling of the spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery."

The black-billed is the only species found in my locality, the
yellow-billed abounds farther south. Their note or call is nearly the
same. The former sometimes suggests the voice of a turkey. The call of
the latter may be suggested thus: k-k-k-k-k-kow, kow, kow-ow, kow-ow.

The yellow-billed will take up his stand in a tree, and explore its
branches till he has caught every worm. He sits on a twig, and with a
peculiar swaying movement of his head examines the surrounding
foliage. When he discovers his prey, he leaps upon it in a fluttering
manner.

In June the black-billed makes a tour through the orchard and garden,
regaling himself upon the canker-worms. At this time he is one of the
tamest of birds, and will allow you to approach within a few yards of
him. I have even come within a few feet of one without seeming to
excite his fear or suspicion. He is quite unsophisticated, or else
royally indifferent.

The plumage of the cuckoo is a rich glossy brown, and is unrivaled in
beauty by any other neutral tint with which I am acquainted. It is
also remarkable for its firmness and fineness.

Notwithstanding the disparity in size and color, the black-billed
species has certain peculiarities that remind one of the passenger
pigeon. His eye, with its red circle, the shape of his head, and his
motions on alighting and taking flight, quickly suggest the
resemblance; though in grace and speed, when on the wing, he is far
inferior. His tail seems disproportionately long, like that of the red
thrush, and his flight among the trees is very still, contrasting
strongly with the honest clatter of the robin or pigeon.

Have you heard the song of the field sparrow? If you have lived in a
pastoral country with broad upland pastures, you could hardly have
missed him. Wilson, I believe, calls him the grass finch, and was
evidently unacquainted with his powers of song. The two white lateral
quills in his tail, and his habit of running and skulking a few yards
in advance of you as you walk through the fields, are sufficient to
identify him. Not in meadows or orchards, but in high, breezy
pasture-grounds, will you look for him. His song is most noticeable
after sundown, when other birds are silent; for which reason he has
been aptly called the vesper sparrow. The farmer following his team
from the field at dusk catches his sweetest strain. His song is not so
brisk and varied as that of the song sparrow, being softer and wilder,
sweeter and more plaintive. Add the best parts of the lay of the
latter to the sweet vibrating chant of the wood sparrow, and you have
the evening hymn of the vesper-bird,--the poet of the plain,
unadorned pastures. Go to those broad, smooth, uplying fields where
the cattle and sheep are grazing, and sit down in the twilight on one
of those warm, clean stones, and listen to this song. On every side,
near and remote, from out the short grass which the herds are
cropping, the strain rises. Two or three long, silver notes of peace
and rest, ending in some subdued trills and quavers, constitute each
separate song. Often, you will catch only one or two of the bars, the
breeze having blown the minor part away. Such unambitious, quiet,
unconscious melody! It is one of the most characteristic sounds in nature. The grass, the stones, the stubble, the furrow, the quiet
herds, and the warm twilight among the hills, are all subtly expressed in this song; this is what they are at last capable of.

You listened to Return of the Birds, a serialized audiobook podcast of Wake-Robin, written by John Burroughs and read by Peter Meddick with bird vocalizations courtesy of the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Recording, editing, mastering and post-production by 44 from 26 in Bellingham, Washington. Recorded at One Fine Studio in Bellingham, Washington. Engineered, produced and directed by Peter Meddick. This has been a presentation of 44 from 26, a family owned and operated media experiment.
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Wake-Robinis available for digital download in e-reader format at archive.org and gutenberg.org.
THIS is 44 from 26

Credits & Links:

Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Intro music: