Backyard Nature's Direct Feed from
Bird Watcher's Digest:
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!
Last updated on  January 24th, 2018
Episode 76: Noah Strycker's World Big Year: Click here
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.
Episode 75: Snowy Owl Invasion with Scott Weidensaul: Click here
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.
Episode 74: Birding Taiwan: Click here
Bill's recent birding trip to Taiwan is the subject of this episode. Taiwan is an island off the coast of China, with a large number of endemic and near-endemic bird species. While it is a modern country, heavily influenced by mainland China and Japan, much of Taiwan is wild, heavily forested, with large, protected areas set aside for birds and wildlife. In addition, the culture of Taiwan is quite bird-centric, and its people are fascinated by their country's bird life. In this episode, Bill interviews his fellow travelers and their Taiwanese birding guide, Chuck, about all facets of Taiwan, including the people, food, culture, weather, and birds of this island country in East Asia. Bill also got to take lots of photos of various statues, signs, and giant things of Taiwan, which he shares at the end of the podcast.
Episode 73: More Birding Stories: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, recently traveled to Taiwan. Four of his travel companions tell fascinating stories about their birding adventures from around the world. Ranging from light-hearted to downright life-threatening, these tales are worth a listen. Topics include: discovering a new bird species, schmoozing your way to an exit-row airline seat, getting rescued in the desert, and avoiding capture by the guerillas when birding.
Episode 72: An Interview with ABA President Jeff Gordon: Click here
Bill chats with ABA President Jeff Gordon about his start as a birder, new and young birder outreach, ghillie suits, The Big Year movie, swirlies, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook communities, the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker, and the early days of the modern birding era.
Episode 71: Catherine Hamilton, Bird Artist for Conservation: Click here
Bill interviews artist Catherine Hamilton about her evolution as a bird artist, what inspires her art, her favorite subject matter, her field sketching abilities, and her dedication to supporting bird conservation projects.
Episode 70: Ian Harding and Odd Birds: Click here
Bill chats with actor/birder Ian Harding, star of the television show “Pretty Little Liars,” about his new book “Odd Birds.” In the book, Ian writes about everything from Hollywood stardom and chasing the rare California condor to the allure of Juliette Binoche. This Hollywood teen idol is not only a true birder, he's also wonderfully down-to-earth. Episode 70 also features Ian reading from “Odd Birds.”
Episode 69: Three Fabulous Birding Festivals: Click here
Bill chats with the organizers of three successful--and very different--annual birding festivals in the U.S.: the Acadia Birding Festival in Maine, the New River Birding & Nature Festival in West Virginia, and the San Diego Bird Festival in California. Learn what's special about each festival and why birders choose to attend them.
Episode 68: Jan Pierson and Field Guides: Click here
Bill enjoys a wide-ranging interview with Jan Pierson, one of the founders of Field Guides Birding Tours. Topics range from Jan's late and unexpected start as a birder to the collaborative ownership of Field Guides to favorite birding destinations and fantasy birding companions--and a lot more.
Episode 67: Katie Fallon, Vulture Evangelinst: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews author/naturalist Katie Fallon about her latest book “Vulture” and about her deep fascination with these carrion-eating, much-misunderstood birds.
Episode 66: Cat Wars: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews ornithologist Peter Marra, co-author of the book “Cat Wars: The Deadly Consequences of a Cuddly Killer.” The book examines the conservation, environmental, social, and health impacts of the pet and feral cats--unnatural predators--that kill a billion wild birds annually in the United States.
Episode 65: Champions of the Flyway, Part II: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, recounts last year’s Champions of the Flyway bird race in Israel where his team, the Way-Off Coursers, raised more than $12K for conservation. The event as a whole raised more than $67K to protect birds along the great Rift Valley flyway between Eurasia and Africa. Also featured is the anthem Bill wrote to support Champions of the Flyway.
Episode 64: Voices of India: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, takes us on a journey to India for the second-annual Uttar Pradesh Bird Festival and introduces us to fellow birders from India and around the world.
Episode 63: Voices of the Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, talks to participants in the 2016 Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour which raised more than $50,000 for conservation projects. His team, the Velveteen Cotingas, finished last in the bird list competition but first in the fun category.
Episode 62: An Interview with Rockjumper Birding Tours: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Adam Riley and Keith Valentine of Rockjumper Birding Tours. His guests talk about birding tourism, unknown destinations, doing well by doing good, and share their harrowing birding adventures.
Episode 61: My Jinx Bird: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, takes us along on a quest to find his jinx bird, the Connecticut warbler, in northernmost Minnesota.
Episode 60: A Visit to the Cornell Lab: Click here
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.
Episode 59: Birding Portugal: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, takes us along on a week of birding in southern Portugal. This European country is a world famous destination for wine, seafood, history, culture, and now, birding! Portugal’s leading birder, Joao Jara, tells us all about his native land.
Episode 58: A Conversation with Julie Zickefoose: Click here
TBL host Bill Thompson, III, enjoys a wide-ranging conversation with author/artist/naturalist Julie Zickefoose about her new book: “Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest.”
Episode 57: The Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour: Click here
TBL host Bill Thompson, III, chats about the upcoming Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour with founder James Adams and event guides Jeffrey A. Gordon and Alex Alvarado.
Episode 56: Champions of the Flyway, Part I: Click here
TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, examines the monumental conservation effort being undertaken to stop the illegal killing of birds along the Mediterranean flyway.
Episode 55: Backyard Rarity, Part II: Click here
TBL host Bill Thompson, III, gets deeper into the experience of finding a rare western flycatcher in his Ohio backyard.
Episode 54: Backyard Rarity, Part I: Click here
TBL host Bill Thompson, III, talks with avid birders who came from hours away to see a rare bird in his backyard.
Episode 53: Great Birding Stories, Vol. 1: Click here
TBL host Bill Thompson, III, shares some of the interesting stories he’s gathered in his birding travels: strange animal behavior, mistaken identity, acts of kindness, moments of discovery, spark birds, and memorable passages of life.
Episode 52: Birding in Uganda, Part II: Click here
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!
Episode 51: Birding in Uganda, Part I: Click here
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.
Episode 50: Interview with Ted Floyd of the ABA: Click here
TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Ted Floyd, editor of Birding Magazine from the American Birding Association.
Episode 49: A Visit to the British Bird Fair, Part II: Click here
TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews a few of the many interesting personalities at the British Birdwatching Fair, an event held each August at Rutland Water Preserve in central England.
Episode 48: A Visit to the British Bird Fair, Part I: Click here
TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews a few of the many interesting personalities at the British Birdwatching Fair, an event held each August at Rutland Water Preserve in central England.
Episode 47: Sketches of Homer, Alaska: Click here
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.
Episode 46: The Voices of Argentina: Click here
TBL Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews fellow birders, local guides, and other interesting people whom he encountered on a 10-day birding trip to Argentina.
Episode 45: Jeff Bouton and the Amazon Kingfisher: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Jeff Bouton, the birder who found an Amazon kingfisher near Harlingen, Texas at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.
Episode 44: Speakers from the ’13 Midwest Birding Symposium: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, shares audio excerpts from seven different presenters at the 2013 MBS.
Episode 43: Elsa Thompson and BWD: The Early Days: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Bird Watcher’s Digest’s Founding Publisher Elsa Thompson about the early days of the magazine.
Episode 42: Jeffrey Kimball and Birders: The Central Park Effect: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Jeffrey Kimball, creator of the movie “Birders: The Central Park Effect.”
Episode 41: The Past, Present, and Future of Birding Optics: Click here
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.
Episode 40: Optics-Buying Advice With Ben Lizdas, Part II: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Eagle Optics sales manager Ben Lizdas about prism types, considerations for nature-watching, and much more.
Episode 39: Optics-Buying Advice With Ben Lizdas, Part I: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Eagle Optics sales manager Ben Lizdas about the optics buying process, the questions customers ask about binoculars, how much to spend, choosing the right power, and much more.
Episode 38: Young Birders at the Hog Island Audubon Camp: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, speaks with five teenage campers about their experiences at the Hog Island Audubon Camp.
Episode 37: Birding the Hula Valley of Israel: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, talks with three of Israel’s leading bird authorities about why this Mideast country is such a mecca for birds and for birders.
Episode 36: The Sounds of Spring at Indigo Hill: Click here
TBL host Bill Thompson, III, shares recordings of bird calls heralding the arrival of spring on Indigo Hill.
Episode 35: The Snowy Owl Invasion: Click here
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!
Episode 34: The Birding Life of Greg Miller: Click here
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.
Episode 33: An Interview with David Frankel: Click here
In this episode, TBL host Bill Thompson, III, interviews David Frankel, director of the movie “The Big Year.”
Episode 32: Trekking for the Philippine Eagle: Click here
BWD editor Bill Thompson, III, reads his account of a trek to see the Philippine Eagle on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.
Episode 31: An Interview with Michael Male: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, interviews Michael Male, one of the world’s leading nature videographers.
Episode 30: Sophie Webb: Life at Sea: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, interviews Sophie Webb, an ornithologist/artist/author from California who spends much of each year at sea aboard an oceanic research vessel.
Episode 29: Nature in Iraq: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews an Iraqi civil engineer and an American soldier about their shared interest in observing and restoring nature in the war-torn country of Iraq.
Episode 28: The Bird Call Lady: Click here
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.
Episode 27: Music and Birds: Jonathan Meiberg of Shearwater: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews Jonathan Meiberg, a birder and leader of the indie-rock band Shearwater.
Episode 26: Voices of Guyana: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, journeys to Guyana and interviews Amerindian guides, ecotourism visionaries, international travel experts, and government officials about this world-class birding destination.
Episode 25: An Englishman in Florida: Click here
English birder Bo Beolens, the Fatbirder, recounts his first birding trip to Florida.
Episode 24: Birding in Panama: Click here
During an eight-day birding trip to Panama, Host Bill Thompson, III interviews traveling companions for experiences and impressions.
Episode 23: The Big Sit!: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews participants in the 2008 Big Sit! held in the birding tower on his farm, Indigo Hill, in southeastern Ohio.
Episode 22: Snippets From a Life Gone to the Birds: Click here
Humorist Al Batt recounts his experiences with all aspects of the natural world at the 2009 Midwest Birding Symposium in Lakeside, Ohio.
Episode 21: Saving the Cebu Flowerpecker: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, talks with Lisa Marie Paguntalan about saving one of the rarest birds in the world.
Episode 20: iBird and the Evolution of the Digital Field Guide: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, talks with Mitchell Waite about iBird and the future of digital field guides in general.
Episode 19: Love and Death Among the Cranes: Click here
Julie Zickefoose reads her controversial column, “Love and Death Among the Cranes.”
Episode 18: Phoebe and The Young Birder’s Guide: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, interviews Phoebe Linnea Thompson, his daughter and co-author on The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.
Episode 17: Adventures in Birding With Bryan Bland: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, asks birding tour leader Bryan Bland to recount his memorable travels to India and beyond.
Episode 16: Capsized by Rogue Wave: Click here
Lisa White from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt reads an excerpt from All Things Reconsidered, by Roger Tory Peterson and edited by Bill Thompson, III.
Episode 15: Birding the World With Victor Emanuel: Click here
Bill Thompson, III talks with Victor Emanuel and discusses his inspiration for creating a worldwide birding and nature tour company.
Episode 14: birdJam: a Revolution in Bird Identification: Click here
Bill Thompson, III talks with birdJam cofounders Jay Davis and Denese VanDyne about the origins and potential of birdJam.
Episode 13: The Singing Life of Birds: Click here
Author Donald Kroodsma discusses the art and science behind listening to bird songs.
Episode 12: Paradise Lost: Click here
Artist, author, and naturalist Julie Zickefoose reads Paradise Lost, an essay from her latest book, “Letters from Eden.”
Episode 11: Adventure on Rapa Nui: Click here
Tropical birding expert Alvaro Jaramillo took a side trip to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), which became one of the best experiences of his birding life.
Episode 10: A Conversation with Lang Elliott: Click here
Lang Elliott, the mighty maven of bird sound in North America, talks about his inspiration and renowned work in recording nature sounds.
Episode 9: A Conversation with Kenn Kaufman: Click here
Birding all-star Kenn Kaufman talks about his life with birds, his early days as a bird watcher, his latest field guides, the great Roger Tory Peterson, and the future of birding.
Episode 8: A Five Hawk Experience: Click here
Host Bill Thompson, III, interviews bird artist Keith Hansen, who describes a mind-blowing hawk encounter outside of his Bolinas, California art studio.
Episode 7: A Postcard from Tikal: Click here
Visiting Guatemala and the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, Host Bill Thompson, III, Julie Zickefoose, and Jeff Gordon discuss tropical birding and the birds of Tikal from the top of a Mayan temple.
Episode 6: The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding: Click here
Recorded from his live presentation at the Space Coast Birding Festival, Bill Thompson, III, reveals the humorous side of bird watching.
Episode 5: Interview with Scott Weidensaul: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, interviews Scott Weidensaul.
Episode 4: Return to Wild America by Scott Weidensaul: Click here
Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul reads an excerpt from his book, “Return to Wild America.”
Episode 3: Birding Technology, Part II: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, interviews naturalist Jeff Gordon, discussing technical trends in bird watching.
Episode 2: Birding Technology, Part I: Click here
Bill Thompson, III, interviews naturalist Jeff Gordon at Bird Watch America.
Episode 1: Letters from Eden, Julie Zickefoose: Click here
Artist, author, and naturalist Julie Zickefoose reads January Thaw, one of her winter essays from her new book, “Letters from Eden.”