About ravens, tree swallows, great horned owls, woodpeckers, golden-crowned kinglets, crows and more.

Our guest today is distinguished academic, author and ultra-marathoner, Dr. Bernd Heinrich.  He talks about owls, ravens, tree swallows, painted snipes, great horned owls, crows and much more.  This episode is about the various birds that Dr. Heinrich has encountered and why he enjoys them.


Dr. Heinrich is a professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont and is the author of a number of books about nature writing and biology. Dr. Heinrich has made major contributions to the study of insect physiology and behavior, as well as bird behavior.  

Here are some of the books mentioned in this episode.

One Man’s Owl

Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death 

A Naturalist at Large: The Best Essays of Bernd Heinrich

The Homing Instinct: Meaning & Mystery in Animal Migration

White Feathers: The Nesting Lives of Tree Swallows

Ravens in Winter

Racing the Clock: Running Across a Lifetime


1. Can ravens think, and how could you know?

2. Ravens share food. Are they  altruistic?

3. Why did you study tree swallows and what did you find out?

4. Experiences with crows. 

5. Do ravens have culture? (basically why live with humans or as in New England are hyper-shy)

6. You studied woodpeckers, too. (It was flickers and sapsuckers- not top-notch science but fun!)

7. Your father is famous for his birds and his wasps, too- tell us about that ! (His book. on the Snoring Bird and yours)

8. Owl. You have had quite an experience with a Great horned owl.

9. Your favorite bird aesthetically— woodcock display -turned on since a lid on the farm

10. Golden-crowned kinglets? Fun discoveries/observations.  

11. Anything else? Winter mixed-species flocks?

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