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Inspired by Birds, BBC Radio 3, Saturday 25th February 2012, 12.15pm (1 Viewer)

tom mckinney

Well-known member
Everyone loves birds, and everyone loves music. So why not spend 45 minutes this coming Saturday afternoon listening to birds & music at the same time?


Features interviews with Nick Moran (BTO), Mark Constantine & Magnus Robb (Sound Approach), Andy Roadhouse (Spurn Bird Obs), Dr Daniel Grimley (Oxford Uni) & Peter Hill (Sheffield Uni).

Music by Beethoven, Jonathan Harvey, Messiaen, Rautavarra, Respighi, Schubert, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Vivaldi & Wagner.

It will be on BBC iPlayer after broadcast for 7 days. I'll paste a link when it's up on iPlayer.

It's already made pick of the day in the Radio Times and the Sunday Times, and there's a nice feature about how we made it in the March issue of Birdwatch out now.


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Adey Baker

Well done, Tom. Well put together (mind you, I almost forgot it and missed the first few minutes, so I'll catch it again on the iplayer!)

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Nice programme Tom - well done for getting this on the radio. Obviously a bit disappointed at the lack of swearing and Iron Maiden. Have you considered making a version for Kerrang! Radio?

tom mckinney

Well-known member
Thanks guys. Glad you enjoyed it.

It's now available on iPlayer for another 5 days:


And here's Sarah Montague selecting our Sibelius segment on Pick of the Week (from 07'55)


In case anyone hasn't heard the last movement from Sibelius' 5th Symphony, listen to it immediately. And I mean immediately. It's just amazing:



Active member
Because the moderators will probably delete it I put this in a separate post from the one praising the radio show: Tom & Nick are also great on the excellent Talking Naturally Conference Calls, I recommend it highly, a fantastic resource for birders.


Anything About?
Just listened to this - magical. In particular, I liked the stories about Messiaen and what seems to have been his obsession every bit as strong as flying to Japan to twitch a Baer's Pochard. ;)

Just as the programme was coming to its end a Blackbird started singing a few metres away and confirmed Tom's conclusion, following the extract from the Respighi, that perhaps birdsong is best left to the birds!


delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
A lovely programme that Tom. I listened to it last night.

My only problem was the volume, but it did make me concentrate LOL



In case anyone hasn't heard the last movement from Sibelius' 5th Symphony, listen to it immediately. And I mean immediately. It's just amazing:


A very enjoyable programme indeed, Tom (but it still didn't help me get over my blindspot for Messiaen - I've tried loads of his stuff - even have "Vingt regards..." sitting here on my desk in front of me - but he just leaves me cold). The Rautavaara was great though.

Sibelius is my favourite symphonist and I had a great birding moment once listening to horn section of the 4th movement of the 5th. Had driven out to a spot in SW Iceland and was about to turn off the engine but decided I'd wait until the music on the stereo (Sibelius 5) had finished. I then noticed a Gyr Falcon perched on a fence post about 20 metres away and just as the horn section took off, another Gyr Falcon came along and started jousting with the other one right in front of me. Sibelius 5 + Gyr Falcon = Nordic jackpot.

I saw The Met's production of Siegfried last autumn (broadcast live to the local cinema, not in person in New York unfortunately) and was delighted to see the Woodbird was a realistic looking animated Golden Oriole.
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