Congratulations to our friends at “Talkin’ Birds,” a radio show and podcast about birds and conservation that will air its 900th show this Sunday, September 11. Created and hosted by Ray Brown, this weekly 30-minute show has tens of thousands of listeners across North America and the world.
I’m aware of only two radio shows about birds that have been around longer than “Talkin’ Birds.” Laura Erickson’s “For the Birds” has been going strong since 1986, and BirdNote has been on the air since February 2005. It’s fair to say that all three have paved the way for the many birdy podcasts that we enjoy today.
Episode #1 of “Talkin’ Birds” aired on April 3, 2005 — the brainchild of Ray Brown who had worked in radio across New England for decades and who had been birding since the 1970s. With less than a handful of Sundays missed, Ray has been in the studio weekly for more than 17 years, sharing conservation news, interviewing expert guests, hosting the live Mystery Bird Contest, and bantering about backyard birding with the well-loved Mike O’Connor, the owner of the fantastic Bird Watcher’s General Store on Cape Cod. Over time, other features have included the Bird Word of the Day, young birder reports, audio postcards, and more. The show airs live from WATD on the South Shore of Massachusetts at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on Sundays, and plays delayed on 14 radio stations across the Northeast. Episodes are also live-streamed and released as podcasts.
Listeners are invited to become Talkin’ Birds Ambassadors to spread the word about the show and about birds and conservation. With more than 700 Ambassadors and counting — including at least one in every U.S. state and in seven Canadian provinces, and countries as far afield as Finland, Nigeria, and Australia — these volunteers are a testament to the broad appeal of the show.
“When we started the show on a single radio station, we didn’t know if the first episode might be the last,” Brown says. “But listeners responded with enthusiasm right from the start. Even after 17 years, I look forward to every Sunday to learn from the amazing birders and conservationists we welcome as guests and to hear from our wonderful listeners all over the U.S. and beyond.”
Legendary birder, author, and repeat guest Kenn Kaufman exclaimed, “Nine hundred fantastic episodes! What a remarkable record of informing and inspiring the public about the amazing world of birds. Everyone involved in birdwatching and bird conservation owes you our thanks, Ray; and the birds would thank you, too, if they could Talk Birds as well as you do. Congratulations!”
Show #900 will celebrate Talkin’ Birds’ history, contributors, and listeners, and feature current Talkin’ Birds team members Debbie Blicher and Freya McGregor, along with Mike O’Connor.