54 episodes

The Science of Birds is a lighthearted, guided exploration of bird biology. It's a fun resource for any birder or naturalist who wants to learn more about ornithology. Impress your birding friends at cocktail parties with all of your new bird knowledge! Hosted by Ivan Phillipsen, a passionate naturalist with a PhD in Zoology.

The Science of Birds Ivan Phillipsen

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 189 Ratings

The Science of Birds is a lighthearted, guided exploration of bird biology. It's a fun resource for any birder or naturalist who wants to learn more about ornithology. Impress your birding friends at cocktail parties with all of your new bird knowledge! Hosted by Ivan Phillipsen, a passionate naturalist with a PhD in Zoology.

    Eggs: Incredible and Commendable

    Eggs: Incredible and Commendable

    This episode—which is Number 54—is all about bird eggs.

    This is an important topic. Eggs are a fundamental aspect of bird biology. Recently, in Episode 49 of the podcast, I covered the topic of nests. So it seems like a logical next step for us to get the lowdown on eggs.

    Oology is the science of studying bird eggs. So today, we are all honorary oologists. We’re egg-heads on a mission to better understand how baby birds come into the world.

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    Book Recommendations
    The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg [affiliate link]
    Links of Interest
    How are Eggs Made (BBC/Attenborough clip) [VIDEO]Chicken embryo development animation [VIDEO]Bird Eggs Warn Each Other About Danger [VIDEO]

    Link to this episode on the Science of Birds website
    Support the show

    • 56 min
    Avian Flu

    Avian Flu

    This episode—which is Number 53—is all about Avian Influenza. Or colloquially what we call the Avian Flu or Bird Flu.

    Depending on where you live, you might have noticed news headlines in recent months about the frightening spread of Avian Flu among both domestic and wild birds. I thought you might have some questions about this emerging disease, and so here we are with an entire podcast episode on the subject.

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    Links of Interest
    Current U.S. Bird Flu Situation in Humans
    Link to this episode on the Science of Birds website
    Support the show

    • 34 min
    Giant Birds: Go Big or Go Home

    Giant Birds: Go Big or Go Home

    This is Episode 52.

    Today, we’re talking about bird species that are way, way bigger than your average chickadee or finch.

    Our focus will be on evolutionary lineages that spawned some very large bird species. Species whose ancestors had been much smaller, millions of years earlier.

    We’ll look at a bunch of interesting giant birds throughout history. Then we’ll talk about some scientific explanations for why these critters got so big in the first place.

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    Links of Interest
    The Time Terror Birds Invaded [Video]Takahe - Return to the Wild [Video]Island Gigantism
    Link to this episode on the Science of Birds website
    Support the show

    • 28 min
    The Northern Cardinal

    The Northern Cardinal

    This is Episode 51. Our bird of interest today is the Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis.

    This species is widespread across the eastern and southern US. It’s so well-known and loved that it’s the state bird for 7 states—more than any other species.

    Northern Cardinals are among the most abundant birds in North America. They’re familiar denizens of backyards that visit feeders all year long. So it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that ornithologists have done a lot of research on this abundant and conspicuous species.

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    Link to this episode on the Science of Birds website
    Support the show

    • 32 min
    Female Birdsong

    Female Birdsong

    This episode—which is Number 50— is all about Female Birdsong.

    Songs are one of the things we love most about birds. They define the soundscapes of the natural world.

    Even though humans have been surrounded by singing birds for millions of years, we still have some misconceptions about birdsong. Today’s episode is about a misconception of sex differences in birds… Of who sings and who doesn’t.

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    Links of Interest
    The Forgotten Female: How a Generation of Women Scientists Changed Our View of EvolutionFemale Bird Song ProjectVideo of Superb Fairy Wren female SingingSinging female Cerulean Warblers [Video]
    Link to this episode on the Science of Birds website



    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)

    • 21 min
    Nests: Types, Construction, and Challenges

    Nests: Types, Construction, and Challenges

    This episode—which is Number 49—is all about bird nests.

    There are tons of fun facts fun facts here, since nests are one of the more impressive aspects of bird behavior and breeding biology.

    We’ll go over the functions of nests, the challenges that nesting birds face, nest site selection, the many types of nests, and nest construction.

    That’s a lot to cover, but I’ll try to keep this at more of an overview level. This is sort of Bird Nests 101.
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    Links of Interest
    Why a Hawk Is a Hummingbird’s Best FriendTime Lapse Video of Blue Tit Building a NestBBC Video of Baya Weaver Nest Construction
    Link to this episode on the Science of Birds website
    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/scienceofbirds)

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
189 Ratings

189 Ratings

TranchFlaot ,

Happy Guy

Excellently put together and fascinating!

nora tamer ,

Bingeworthy Ornithology

Smart, funny and can’t put it down!

marketpop ,

Avian Flu

Really informative episode. This podcast is my favorite. Big thanks to Ivan, a great host.

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