Bird News

With hosts Mindy Todd and Vernon Laux.

Mindy is an award-winning veteran broadcaster with over 30 years experience in radio and television, and an enthusiastic amateur birder. Vern is an international bird tour leader, educator, columnist and author. He is also a radio commentator, heard each Wednesday on WCAI with the Weekly Bird Report. 

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Bird News is made possible by the support of the Circle of Ten.



Weekly Bird Report
4:32 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

100 Miles Offshore, "The Canyons" Offer a Last Frontier for New England Birding

White-faced Storm Petrel
Credit JJ Harrison / wikipedia

There is no place like being on the water, on a boat, at this time of year, if you want to see birds - specifically pelagic, ocean-loving birds. While ashore it is hot and crowded, out on the water the cool temperatures and seabirds conspire to make you mellow out and enjoy your vast surroundings. A human never feels as small as when out on, and in, the vastness of the open ocean.

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The Point
10:44 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Birds are Singing and Nesting Everywhere

robin eggs
Credit J. J.

Ornithologist Vernon Laux joins us with the latest bird news. This is peak time for bird song and lots of interesting sightings in the various bird-a-thons including a little egret on Nantucket. Vern gives tips on everything from feather mites to how to discourage house sparrows and raccoons, and what to do with a dead bird if you find one.

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Weekly Bird Report
10:48 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Indigo Bunting and Osprey are Eye-catching Forerunners of the Spring Migration

Indigo Buntings create a lot of excitement when they appear on birdfeeders at this time of year. A handful now nest along power lines on the Upper Cape and a few pairs are nesting in wooded heavily wooded sections of the Vineyard.
Credit Kelly Colgan Azar / flickr


Ospreys are back on nest poles all over the region. Their arrival at precisely the same time as the herring return to area estuaries and streams, which I'm only aware of because I have been watching Ospreys catching and eating these anadromous fish, is like clockwork. The herring also attract other fish eating birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons. The Ospreys are nest building, displaying, mating and will be laying eggs in the near future. The far-carrying, shrill, high-pitched calls of the male as he hangs in the sky dangling a fish for his mate will be a common sound near Osprey nest poles over the next couple of weeks.

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Weekly Bird Report
7:14 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Snowy Owls continue to fascinate Cape and Islanders

Vern Laux

The season's annual Christmas Bird Counts show an unprecedented number of these magnificent birds.  Nantucket ornithologist Vern Laux says it's a delight to see them.

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Bird News
11:38 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Remarkable Stories about Crows: November Bird News

Credit Mark Whitaker /

The antics and puzzling behavior of crows prompted many calls in our November edition of Bird News. Also this month, water fowl are returning to our area, and preparations are underway for the Christmas Bird Count. Vern Laux and Mindy Todd talk birding, answer questions, and have a new Bird Brain Quiz.

Audio posted above.

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Science & Environment
1:30 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Sea Ducks, Grebes, among the Migrants Arriving to Our Waters

Scoters are among the sea ducks arriving to our waters this time of year.
Credit Jill Clardy / flickr

  Now is the time that northerly nesting loons, grebes, sea ducks and gulls arrive to spend the winter months off our shores.

This is their tropics, a respite from where they have just left where it will be a frozen, inhospitable environment until next May. A look off any favored spot at the water, in the early morning, will reveal long lines of ducks and scattered numbers of flying loons passing by. There are many excellent spots around the Cape and Islands to view large concentrations of sea ducks that are fairly easy to access.

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Bird News
11:28 am
Sat September 7, 2013

September Bird News: Rehab, Tagging & more

screech owl
Credit A. Goddard

Ornithologist Vern Laux joins Mindy Todd for the monthly Bird News hour, with stories, questions and our monthly quiz & bird song. Brian Morris takes us on a visit to Cape Cod Wild Care, where a great horned owl and some loons are recovering from injuries. We hear from Veterinarian Dr.

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Weekly Bird Report
12:13 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Tree Swallows Fill the Sky during Fall Migration

Credit Mike Ostrowski / flickr

The annual fall migration of tree swallows has begun. Big numbers of swallows are showing up at favored spots across Cape Cod and the Islands. These attractive and hardy small birds are able to digest Bayberries and leisurely move south in the fall feasting on these abundant ripening fruits. As they move south, transporting and depositing the seeds by defecating on newly created shores and dunes, they are both making more bayberry and improving prospects for future migrations. It is profitable for both the birds and the plants.

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Weekly Bird Report
1:00 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Please, Don't Feed the Gulls

Credit Vern Laux

Many on vacation think it's great fun to feed the gulls. It is fun initially - but like feeding wild animals anywhere, it is a bad practice. It dulls the birds’ innate fear of humans and encourages increasingly aggressive behavior. And it is bad for the birds. Subjecting them to what we humans eat could be the cruelest trick of all.

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Bird News
12:18 pm
Sat July 6, 2013

July Bird News: Birds of Summer

Arctic Tern

It's summer: time to raise your chicks, and maybe double your body weight if you're a bird like the Godwit, who fattens up now to prepare for a migration flight to South America. Mindy Todd and Vern Laux talk birds and take listener calls on the monthly hour of Bird News. We hear about the incredible migration of the Arctic Tern from pole-to-pole, more than 50,000 miles each year.

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