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This Birding Life

This Birding Life is a podcast from the folks at Bird Watcher’s Digest. And like the magazine’s content, the topics covered by This Birding Life range far and wide, from the backyard to the tropics, from bird feeding to bird chasing, from authors reading from their books to birders talking about their “spark” bird. This Birding Life is guaranteed to make you think, laugh, and want to spend more time out there with the birds. It’s all about this wonderful hobby we share: watching and enjoying wild birds. Welcome to This Birding Life!

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Episode 6: The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding

Recorded from his live presentation at the Space Coast Birding Festival, Bill Thompson, III, reveals the humorous side of bird watching.

46mins

6 Feb 2007

Rank #1

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Episode 60: A Visit to the Cornell Lab

Join host Bill Thompson, III, on a visit to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY and learn more about the Lab’s citizen science projects, bird conservation research, young birders outreach, and rich history of bird study.

57mins

7 Aug 2016

Rank #2

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Episode 13: The Singing Life of Birds

Author Donald Kroodsma discusses the art and science behind listening to bird songs.

26mins

20 Mar 2008

Rank #3

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Episode 35: The Snowy Owl Invasion

TBL host Bill Thompson, III, and some birding companions take a trip to see a snowy owl and they get much more than they bargained for!

38mins

13 Feb 2012

Rank #4

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Episode 3: Birding Technology, Part II

Bill Thompson, III, interviews naturalist Jeff Gordon, discussing technical trends in bird watching.

23mins

6 Feb 2007

Rank #5

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Episode 34: The Birding Life of Greg Miller

Greg Miller, an Ohio birder who served as inspiration for one of the characters in “The Big Year”, tell the story of his own birding life.

58mins

18 Nov 2011

Rank #6

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Episode 51: Birding in Uganda, Part I

TBL host Bill Thompson, III, takes us along on the first part of a journey to Uganda in East Africa where he competed in the annual Birding Big Day in Murchison Falls National Park.

41mins

10 Jul 2015

Rank #7

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Episode 41: The Past, Present, and Future of Birding Optics

Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Stephen Ingraham, optics specialist from Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, about technology, photography, the Internet, and how he became known as an optics expert.

37mins

22 Mar 2013

Rank #8

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Episode 4: Return to Wild America by Scott Weidensaul

Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul reads an excerpt from his book, “Return to Wild America.”

7mins

6 Feb 2007

Rank #9

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Episode 75: Snowy Owl Invasion with Scott Weidensaul

Owl expert Scott Weidensaul joins Bill for a discussion of this winter's invasion of snowy owls from the Arctic. Through Project SNOWstorm (co-founded by Scott), a volunteer field research program studying these magnificent, mostly white owls, we are learning a great deal about their behavior, population dynamics, natural history, and how they interact with us humans, and vice versa. Scott also shares his tips for watching a snowy owl respectfully, without disturbing it.

40mins

27 Dec 2017

Rank #10

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Episode 38: Young Birders at the Hog Island Audubon Camp

Host Bill Thompson, III, speaks with five teenage campers about their experiences at the Hog Island Audubon Camp.

16mins

13 Aug 2012

Rank #11

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Episode 20: iBird and the Evolution of the Digital Field Guide

Bill Thompson, III, talks with Mitchell Waite about iBird and the future of digital field guides in general.

27mins

22 May 2009

Rank #12

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Episode 5: Interview with Scott Weidensaul

Bill Thompson, III, interviews Scott Weidensaul.

23mins

6 Feb 2007

Rank #13

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Episode 52: Birding in Uganda, Part II

TBL host Bill Thompson, III, takes us along on the second part of his journey through Uganda, birding, trekking for chimpanzees and mountain gorillas, seeing lions, and encountering some of Uganda’s future birding guides. He even gets invited for an audience with an ambassador!

50mins

23 Oct 2015

Rank #14

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Episode 87: Melissa Groo: Wildlife Biographer

Melissa Groo joins Bill to talk about her life and the late start she got to her amazing career as a “wildlife biographer.” Though she is most famous for her captivating bird and wildlife photographs, Melissa strives to convey more than that, capturing the personality, soul, and essence of her subjects in hopes of inspiring empathy from humankind for the plight of the natural world.

40mins

11 Dec 2018

Rank #15

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Best of This Birding Life: Snowy Owl Invasion with Scott Weidensaul

TBL host Bill Thompson, III, will be away from the BWD home nest for a while. We hope soon to resume new episodes of the podcast we all know and love, but in the interim, we're taking a trip down memory lane and replaying some of the most popular episodes. In this episode from December 2017, owl expert Scott Weidensaul joins Bill for a discussion of the winter's invasion of snowy owls from the Arctic. Through Project SNOWstorm (co-founded by Scott), a volunteer field research program studying these magnificent, mostly white owls, we are learning a great deal about their behavior, population dynamics, natural history, and how they interact with us humans, and vice versa. Scott also shares his tips for watching a snowy owl respectfully, without disturbing it.

43mins

17 Jan 2019

Rank #16

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Episode 28: The Bird Call Lady

Host Bill Thompson, III, talks with Nicole Perretta a.k.a The Bird Call Lady about her ability to imitate the songs and calls of more than 130 species of birds.

22mins

17 Sep 2010

Rank #17

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Episode 76: Noah Strycker's World Big Year

Bill talks with Noah Strycker, self-described birdman and adventurer, who was the first person ever to see more than 6,000 bird species in a single, worldwide birding Big Year. Noah is the author of “Birding Without Borders,” which recounts his 2015 World Big Year.

35mins

24 Jan 2018

Rank #18

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Episode 47: Sketches of Homer, Alaska

TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, shares audio recordings of some of the very fun and unusual events associated with the 2014 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival held in Homer, Alaska.

54mins

11 Aug 2014

Rank #19

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Episode 56: Champions of the Flyway, Part I

TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, examines the monumental conservation effort being undertaken to stop the illegal killing of birds along the Mediterranean flyway.

56mins

25 Feb 2016

Rank #20