Monday, January 19, 2009

Podcasts Are For The Birds And The Birders

Over the last few years I've occasionally heard radio programs about birds. Although I think it's always good when there are programs that bring awareness about birds or the environment, I can't say that I always find these programs to be entertaining. For the most part, I would rather watch birds out in the field than hear about them on the radio. Many of these programs are geared more toward the general public than they are toward active birders.

A few months ago, it was brought to my attention by Nancy of The Zen Birdfeeder Blog that there were several sites which offer podcasts about birds and birding.

Here are three that I've enjoyed listening to:

I started listening to Birdwatch Radio about two weeks ago. One of the main reasons this show is so entertaining can be attributed to the host, Steve Moore. He has been birding for many years but is humble about his abilities as a birder. He first became interested in watching birds when his grandmother bought him a birdfeeder as a gift when he was a boy.

Steve interviews a variety of people that are connected to birding including birders, birding bloggers, tour leaders, authors, magazine editors and optics dealers just to name a few. He keeps the interviews sounding fresh by asking questions that are interesting to his audience and the people he is interviewing. Steve has an excellent radio voice and always sounds as though he is very interested in what his guests have to say. Great program-I highly recommend it! The more people that listen to this program the more programs that can be produced. I have listened to all sixteen episodes and enjoyed every one of them. Hopefully, there will be more programs coming soon.

This Birding Life is hosted by Bill Thompson III, editor of Birdwatcher's Digest ( my favorite birding magazine). I haven't listened to all of the episodes yet but three that I really enjoyed were: episode #17-adventures in Birding with Bryan Bland- episode #9 A Conversation with Ken Kaufman and the hilarious episode # 6-The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding. Bill's interviews with his guests seem more like casual conversations. This unedited style allows the guests to go into more detail with their response to questions. I found the audio level to be a bit low at times. Maybe this is partially due to the fact that I listened to it while riding on a bus. It might be helpful if they enhanced the audio by increasing the volume level on the voices.

Laura Erickson's For The Birds -I almost overlooked this one. I noticed that most of the podcasts appeared to be more about birds than birding. I decided to listen to the programs any way and was pleasantly surprised. Laura has a hypnotic speech pattern which makes the information she presents seem more interesting and the material itself seems to go beyond the standard textbook information. She expresses her opinions on a variety of with a healthy dose of sarcasm. I enjoy listening to people who aren't afraid to express their opinion, even if I don't always share the same opinion.

In one podcast Laura talked about how she went camping by herself for a week and how enjoyable it was to be able to watch birds at her own pace. I've been camping on my own several times so I can relate to how enjoyable birding is when you're surrounded by nature in total isolation. Several of the podcasts are humorous, even silly at times. I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the programs soon.

If you haven't listened to these podcast programs before, I hope you give them a try. If you don't have an mp3 player, you can purchase one for less than $50. They are well worth the investment.

Are there any other nature podcast that you would like to recommend?


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I've listened to most of Laura Ericksons pocasts and always enjoy them. I've only listened o Bill Thompson's a few times but thought they were pretty fun. I'll have to give Steve Moore's a try. I'v downoalded several to my iPod for car trips.

Anonymous said...

I really need to get an Ipod!

Lana Gramlich said...

Gads...I WISH I had time to listen to podcasts right now! I'll keep these in mind for the future.

Larry said...

Lynne-I really enjoyed Steve Moore's podcasts.-He interviews a lot of people at various birding festivals which I enjoy even though I haven't been to any outside of CT.

Monarch-You won't regret it.

Lana-The nice thing about listening to a podcast is that you can be doing something while your listening.

Kathie Brown said...

What! No updates on Big January? You're holding your cards close to your chest I guess. Well, I'm hot on your trail and birding like mad. I hope you give us an update soon!

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-I think I'm in the low 80's-just a little behind with the blogging-that's all.

Ruth said...

I got a new iPod in the fall, but I cannot get used to using it. I did download some podcasts, but hate the feel of the ear buds, and dislike walking around with headphones.

Larry said...

Ruth-The reason I waited so long to get one was that I couldn't stand seeing other people walking around with headphones.They're good for when you're sitting though.

Birdinggirl said...

Thanks for the helpful tips Larry. I just got my first iPod and am in desperate need of good bird call CDs- I didn't even think of Podcasts!

Happy Birding!

Larry said...

Birdinggirl-Once you get used to the ipod-there are lots of ways to use it.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
I bought myself an iPod as an early Christmas present and have downloaded the podcasts you mentioned. I really like Steve's Birdwatch Radio podcasts and usually listen early weekend mornings while I'm knitting and it's still to dark to watch birds outside. Are you interested in the Operation Migration and whooping crane activities? I have also enjoyed the Whooper Happenings podcasts and they're available on iTunes.

Note to BirdingGirl: If it's in your budget, please think about buying the birdJam software for your iPod. It requires the Stokes Eastern or Western birdsong CDs, but I was able to borrow a copy of them from the local public library and now I have all bird songs downloaded on my iPod--sorted and organized (with pictures!) and I'll be birdJammin' this year! It's very cool! (Plus the birdJam website also has a really neat little external speaker for sale, so you can share the bird songs with other interested folks and you're not plugged into earphones all the time.)

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