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Father Birds
Written by Ellen Blackstone
This is BirdNote!
It’s Father’s Day, so let’s take a look at avian “fatherhood.”
[Anna’s Hummingbird wing sounds] After his initial involvement, the male hummingbird has nothing more to do with the family. In fact, the female may move away from his territory, because he can be so aggressive [Anna’s Hummingbird wing sounds].
Then, there’s the Peregrine Falcon father, which shares family duties almost equally with the mother [Cakking of a Peregrine]. He helps incubate the eggs. And after the young hatch, he brings food for the entire family for three weeks. When the young Peregrines fledge, Dad is right there with Mom, coaxing them to fly and teaching them to hunt on the wing.
[Cakking of a Peregrine]
But the Emu of Australia… that’s the drum-like sound you’re hearing…[Call of an Emu] Now, there’s a father! [Call of an Emu] The male Emu makes the nest. The female lays her eggs, but then abandons the male, to begin again elsewhere. The male remains on the eggs for nearly two months, eating and drinking almost nothing, never leaving the nest for any reason. And the father may stay with the young emus for up to two years [Call of an Emu].
BirdNote wishes a happy day to all the fathers out there, feathered and otherwise. For, I’m Michael Stein.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Anna’s Hummingbird wing hum recorded by A.A. Allen. Peregrine Falcon call recorded by G. Vyn.
Audio of Emu foraging recorded and provided by David Stewart, (Emu: Dromaius novaehollandiae)
Producer: John Kessler
Theme music composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to June 2012/2019 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID#061507fatherKPLU father-01b
Father Birds
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BirdNote (Seattle, Washington)
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Episode Description
The male hummingbird leaves the female to build the nest and raise the young alone, but other father birds are more involved. A Peregrine Falcon father shares duties almost evenly with the mother. (Stewart, seen here, nested on a Seattle skyscraper for many years.) But the male Emu of Australia tops them all. He remains alone on the nest for nearly two months, never leaving the nest for any reason. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, feathered and otherwise!
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Sounds were provided by the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Xeno-Canto, Martyn Stewart, Chris Peterson, John Kessler, and others. Where music was used, fair use was taken into consideration. Individual credits are found at the bottom of each transcript.
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Copyright Holder: BirdNote
Producing Organization: BirdNote
Writer: Blackstone, Ellen
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Identifier: cpb-aacip-294d262e576 (Filename)
Format: Hard Drive
Generation: Master: preservation
Duration: 00:01:45
Identifier: cpb-aacip-f942d30cc8c (unknown)
Generation: Proxy
Duration: 00:01:45.195
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Chicago: “BirdNote; Father Birds,” 2019-06-16, BirdNote, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 25, 2022,
MLA: “BirdNote; Father Birds.” 2019-06-16. BirdNote, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 25, 2022. <>.
APA: BirdNote; Father Birds. Boston, MA: BirdNote, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from