Program Information — Series 1 & 2
Click on a program in the right-hand column to see a description and program notes.

Lungs & Air Sacs

Bird breathing is very efficient, which aids both flying and singing. While our lungs both pump air and perform gas exchange, birds separate those functions in different organs. Bird lungs don't inflate and deflate. Instead, birds use air sacs throughout their bodies to push air through their tubelike lungs, always in the same direction.

The dawn chorus underlying my explanations of birds' lungs and air sacs was recorded by Chris Tenney at the Los Padres National Forest.

I recommend looking at some lovely animated GIFs that TableTop Whale designed: "An animated guide to breathing," comparing what taking a breath looks like in a human, a bird, and a grasshopper.

Series 1
Vocal Range
Importance of Song
Avoiding Monotony
Learning Song
Hip Hop Mimicry
Hummingbird Complexity
Syrinx Anatomy
Internal Duets (Cardinal)
Internal Duets (Cowbird)
Internal Duets (Thrushes)
Syrinx & Pan Pipes

Series 2
Songs & Calls
Call Repertoires
Alarm Calls
Mobbing Calls
Call Notes
Cross-Species Alarms
Lungs & Air Sacs
Circular Breathing