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Return of the Birds combines a 19th Century nature study with 21st century audio of the birdsongs described in the charming narrative.  In short, Return of the Birds is the serialized audiobook podcast of Wake-Robin by renowned naturalist and essayist, John Burroughs.  Wake-Robin is 148-year-old nature study of various birds’ spring migrations, summer residencies and fall departures.  First published in 1871, Burroughs’s attention to detail and playful characterizations turns these birds into little individuals with personalities and emotions.  Burroughs wrote: “And what is a bird without its song? It seems to me I do not know a bird till I’ve heard its voice.”  And it’s exactly the way he describes their songs that captured me - I was curious to compare what he wrote with what the songs truly sounded like. Working with the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Return of the Birds weaves dozens of field recordings into the narration to take these many parts and make something new, unexpected. Perhaps even something Burroughs might not have thought would ever be possible - pairing his observations with the sounds of songs he describes. But why now? The original book highlights the give and take between humans and nature. Long before we could interpret our impact on the earth, Burroughs wrote about the critical relationship between people and the land. Then as now, birds are free. Free from borders or boundaries, yet are a key indicator of the health of our environment. While protections are unwound, uncertainty grows and the din of discontent drowns out reason, debate and discourse. Some days can feel a little empty. Burroughs and his birds help buoy the spirit, and rise above the long, slow evaporation of hope and melting optimism. Our goal is to help people recognize and value what we have, so we all can work harder not to lose it. With support from the WDS Foundation, you can listen to Return of the Birds for free. And if you know someone who likes birds, likes to be outside, who might enjoy the podcast, please tell them about Return of the Birds. It would help our little show take flight.  We hope you join us. Till next time. Chirp away.  
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Winter Wren Eastern Bluebird American Robin 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. Winter Wren Eastern Bluebird American Robin
Episode includes robin's ramshackle nest and the under appreciated socialis, or song sparrow. Affection for the northern flicker. Click here to listen to Episode 1. 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 American Robin Bluebird Phoebe bird Kingbird Northern Flicker 1 Northern Flicker 2 Tufted Titmouse White-breasted Nuthatch Eastern Meadowlark Northern Bobwhite Ruffed Grouse Barn Swallow Greater Prairie Chicken Great Horned Owl Barred Owl Barn Owl Red Rooster Chipping Sparrow Snow Bunting Brown-headed Cowbird Downy Woodpecker 1 Downy Woodpecker 2 Song Sparrow Baltimore Oriole Wood Thrush 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. American Robin
Click here to listen to Episode 1. Click here to listen to Episode 2. 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: Yellow billed Cuckoo Bobolink Black-billed Cuckoo Wood Thrush 1 Wood Thrush 2 Field Sparrow Vesper Sparrow American Tree Sparrow White-eyed Vireo Winter Wren Hooded Warbler Worm-eating Warbler  Northern Waterthrush Great Crested Flycatcher Blue-winged Warbler Northern Mockingbird Hermit Thrush    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 Bobolink Black-billed Cuckoo Wood Thrush Field Sparrow Vesper Sparrow Tree Sparrow White-eyed Vireo Winter Wren
The princely disposition of the wood thrush, the cool notes of the veery, the pretense of the gray catbird and a black snake picks the wrong spot to relax.  Click here to listen to Episode 1. Click here to listen to Episode 2. Click here to listen to Episode 3. 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: Wood Thrush Veery Vesper Sparrow Gray Catbird 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. Wood Thrush Vesper Sparrow Veery Grey Catbird
The scarlet tanager and the birds of summer. Observations of the hawk and the end of the season. Click here to listen to Episode 1. Click here to listen to Episode 2. Click here to listen to Episode 3.   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: Scarlet Tanager Field Sparrow Great Crested Flycatcher Barn Swallow Chipping Sparrow Vesper Swallow American Robin Yellow-billed Cuckoo White-eyed Vireo Bobolink Hermit Thrush 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.
"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. Click here to listen to Episode 1. Click here to listen to Episode 2. Click here to listen to Episode 3. Click here to listen to Episode 4. Click here to listen to Episode 5. 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 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.
The heavenly Hermit Thrush. Commentary about the cowardly Eastern Kingbird. The Wood Pewee's plainness. Praise for the Ovenbird Click here to listen to Episode 1. Click here to listen to Episode 2. Click here to listen to Episode 3. Click here to listen to Episode 4. Click here to listen to Episode 5. Click here to listen to Episode 6. 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: Hermit Thrush Eastern Wood-Pewee Eastern Kingbird Eastern Phoebe Ovenbird 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. Hermit Thrush Eastern Wood-Pewee Eastern Kingbird Eastern Phoebe Ovenbird
Completing a late afternoon stroll in the Barkpeelings. Lounging on a moss sofa, listening to the chorus. Observations on the Cowbirds' egg-depositing-deception and dereliction of parenting duty. 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:Ruby-throated HummingbirdHermit ThrushRose-breasted GrosbeakScarlet TanagerPurple FinchCanada WarblerCowbirdRuffed GrouseCommon YellowthroatMourning WarblerChestnut-sided WarblerBlack-throated Blue WarblerBlack-throated Green WarblerBlue-headed VireoBlack-and-white WarblerIntro music: Kai Engel Walking Barefoot on GrassOutro 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.
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: Purple Finch Pine Siskin Vesper Sparrow White-throated Sparrow American Robin White-breasted Nuthatch 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 Pine Siskin Vesper Sparrow White-throated Sparrow American Robin White-breasted Nuthatch
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Black-capped Chickadee Cedar Waxwing Ruby-throated Hummingbird 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 Cedar Waxwing Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Cedar Waxwing Red-headed Woodpecker Yellow-bellied Sapsucker American Robin Black-capped Chickadee Indigo Bunting 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 Red-headed Woodpecker Yellow-bellied Sapsucker American Robin Black-capped Chickadee Indigo Bunting
Click the links below for details about the bird vocalizations used in this episode from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Blue Grosbeak Black-and-White Warbler Blue-headed Vireo Mourning Warbler Red-tailed Hawk Baltimore Oriole 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 Black-and-white Warbler Blue-headed Vireo Mourning Warbler Red-tailed Hawk Baltimore Oriole Red-eyed Vireo Ruby-throated Hummingbird Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher Eastern Wood Peewee
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.
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 Veery Kentucky Warbler Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Northern Water Thrush Yellow-breasted Chat Cardinal Grosbeak Red-headed Woodpecker
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. Eastern Bluebird European Robin Western Bluebird House Wren
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: Wood Duck Yellow-rumped Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Red-eyed Viero White-eyed Viero Eastern Wood Pewee American Robin Wood Thrush Hermit Thrush Song Sparrow Vesper Sparrow Savannah Sparrow Purple Finch Winter Wren Ruby-crowned Kinglet 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.
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: Louisiana Waterthrush Nightingale Blue Grosbeak Bobolink Ovenbird Gray-cheeked Thrush Northern Waterthrush American Pipit Eastern Meadowlark 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.
Second Edition Trailer

Second Edition Trailer

2020-03-0703:20

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. You can binge the first edition now or enjoy the weekly episodes of this new, second edition as they’re released. 
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