MARK BRAMHILL

Mark Bramhill is a radio and podcast producer based in Oxford, Mississippi. He works as a producer for BirdNote, a daily two-minute show about birds and the environment. He is also the creator of Enthusiast!, a show about what brings us joy, and Welcome to Macintosh, a show about Apple, its history, and the community around it. His work has aired on shows like 99% Invisible, Twenty Thousand Hertz, and NPR’s Here & Now. He was the runner-up for the 2018 Miller Audio Prize in Documentary and won the UnFictional Award for KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race in 2016. He interned with NPR’s Planet Money and is an alum of the Transom Story Workshop. He is also the creator of the yoga emoji 🧘‍♀️

Follow on Mastodon or send an email: contact [AT] markbramhill [DOT] com

“Has a pleasant voice!” — iTunes reviewer


MEMORY OF THE ‘Ō‘Ū
FEBRUARY 2024 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Sam ‘Ohu Gon was one of the last people to see an ‘Ō‘ū, a native Hawaiian bird that’s presumed to be extinct. He’s worked at the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i for nearly forty years. In 1988, he took part in an Audubon Christmas Bird Count, hoping to encounter critically endangered native birds.

THE SKATEBIRDER
JANUARY 2023 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Dave Mull is not your typical birder — he’s a professional skateboarder, or a “skatebirder” as he puts it. He brings binoculars with him when he skateboards and doesn’t mind putting his board down to check out a bird. But the birds aren’t really a distraction for Dave. Tuning into his surroundings, including the birds, helps him stay in the zone and provides inspiration for tricks.

A PIGEON’S EYE VIEW
DECEMBER 2022 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

In 1907, a German pharmacist named Julius Neubronner invented the pigeon camera. It was a small camera strapped to a pigeon’s breast — like a photographic baby-bjorn. A timer let the camera take multiple snapshots throughout the bird’s flight. This allowed for some of the earliest aerial photography, and even seemed promising for military reconnaissance.

DAVE MULL AND THE COURAGE OF STELLER’S JAYS
DECEMBER 2022 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Skateboarder and birder Dave Mull remembers the first time he heard a Steller’s Jay imitating a Red-tailed Hawk. “These Steller’s Jays were pretending to be something they were not, kind of tricking the world,” he says. It got him into the mindset that he could attempt a terrifying new skateboard trick called the “stump jump.”

ADA LIMÓN - THE HURTING KIND
MAY 2022 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Poet Ada Limón often writes about birds, and her new book, The Hurting Kind, is no exception. Birds are a throughline in the book — between the seasons, from childhood to present, and knowing and unknowing. Two of her poems examine opposite sides of the “knowing/unknowing” coin. You can read many more fantastic poems, with and without birds, in Ada Limón’s new book, The Hurting Kind.

Part of an annual series of National Poetry Month episodes I started at BirdNote, highlighting the work of exceptional contemporary poets writing about birds and nature. It was especially exciting to interview the now-US Poet Laureate and sound design some of her poems.

PUFFIN BILLS GLOW
APRIL 2022 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Bills so bright they gotta wear shades.

CAMILLE T. DUNGY ON NATURE AND MOTHERHOOD
APRIL 2022 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Writer Camille T. Dungy’s book Trophic Cascade deals with themes of nature and becoming a mother. The title is an ecological term, referring to the far-reaching changes on an ecosystem caused by the removal or introduction of a top “trophy” predator. In the case of Camille’s book, that “trophy creature” is her daughter. Camille performs three poems from Trophic Cascade reckoning with these changes to her own ecosystem.

BIRDNOIR - DIAL E FOR EAGLE
JANUARY 2022 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

In our second installment of BirdNoir, PI Michael Stein investigates a murder — a fish murder, plucked from The Dame’s pond. Is it a Bald Eagle? Or has ol’ baldy been framed? It’s all about knowing the right questions to ask.

Another installment of BirdNoir, finding playful new ways to teach listeners bird ID. Ft. Avery Trufelman as The Dame.

BIRDNOIR - THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE BIRD
DECEMBER 2021 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

In this episode of BirdNoir, Michael Stein — Private Eye — gets a call from a friend, Danny, who wants to know why the bluest bird he’s ever seen has vanished. But there are many birds that are blue besides the true bluebirds (which belong to the thrush family). To solve the mystery, the detective needs to know the right questions to ask Danny, finding the relevant information to identify the bird and figure out what happened.

This is the first of an ongoing series of BirdNoir stories, using old film-noir tropes and production to make frequently asked questions about bird-ID and behavior more exciting and memorable. I cameo as fast-talkin’ Danny in this episode.

SPARK BIRD: NICK BELARDES AND THE VERMILION FLYCATCHER
NOVEMBER 2021 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

“It’s a jewel.”

SPARK BIRD: WALTER AND PATCH
NOVEMBER 2021 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Sculptor and musician Walter Kitundu first became enraptured by birds in 2005 when a Red-tailed Hawk flew four feet above his head. He named the bird Patch, after the white patch on the back of her head, and kept returning to the park to see her. Patch became used to Walter, accepting him as part of the landscape. He documented her transition from juvenile to adult, learning her quirks and mannerisms.

SPARK BIRD: TIG NOTARO AND THE DINOSAURS
APRIL 2021 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Tig Notaro is known for her acting, writing, and especially her deadpan comedy. Less well known is her love for birds.

WENDY S. WALTERS - HOLLYWOOD FINCHES
APRIL 2021 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

When writer Wendy S. Walters lived in LA in the early 2000s, she wrote a collection of poems about the city called The Birds of Los Angeles. For one of her poems, she wanted to examine the idea of the Hollywood romance “and the ways in which people think that they’re going to be walking into a movie about their life,” Walters said. “And you know relationships are often much harder than that.”

SPARK BIRD: CORINA NEWSOME MEETS THE BLUE JAY
FEBRUARY 2021 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

In an ornithology class in college, Corina Newsome was introduced to the Blue Jay. After this, Newsome was determined to learn about the world of birds she had never noticed before.

TRIN GARRITANO: PLANTS
DECEMBER 2020 for ENTHUSIAST!

You’re playing Stardew Valley, but like, in real life! 👩‍🌾

NEVEN MRGAN: FISH SAUCE
OCTOBER 2020 for ENTHUSIAST!

You can never have enough kinds of fish sauce.

ERIKA JANIK: APPLES
OCTOBER 2020 for ENTHUSIAST!

There is a very delicious world outside of those walls 🍎

BIRD NAMES FOR BIRDS
OCTOBER 2020 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Lifelong birder Jordan Rutter co-founded the campaign Bird Names for Birds. The goal? To discontinue the use of honorific names and replace them with names that celebrate the unique attributes, behaviors, and biomes of the birds. “There’s a way for us to remember and learn the history of ornithology…that can be separate from the actual birds,” Jordan says. “And just let birds be celebrated for birds.”

CLAIR DE LOON
AUGUST 2020 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

August 22 is the birthday of renowned French composer, Claude Debussy. Born in 1862, Debussy is known for his impressionistic sonic portraits, like La Mer, about the sea. But one of his best known works is an earlier piano piece, Clair de Lune. The song is quiet and haunting. Which got us thinking: what if we paired it with the most haunting birdsong — the song of loons? Enjoy Clair de Loon.

I was proud to hearken back to the old days of NPR with this piece and subject listeners to something truly wacky. I collaborated with Breakmaster Cylinder for turning this idea into a reality.

STEFANIA GOMEZ - SWIFTS
APRIL 2020 for BIRDNOTE DAILY

Each September, thousands of Vaux’s Swifts roost in the chimney of Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, a stopover on their southern migration. Crowds gather every night to watch the spectacle. As a celebration of Poetry Month in the US, we offer this poem, Swifts, by Stefania Gomez.

Part of an annual series of National Poetry Month episodes I started at BirdNote, highlighting the work of exceptional contemporary poets writing about birds and nature.

IN THE CLEAR: THE PROBLEM WITH BIRDS AND GLASS
FEBRUARY 2020 for BIRDNOTE PRESENTS

Bird populations in North America have plummeted since the 1960s. A recent study found that overall bird populations in North America have declined by 3 billion birds, almost 30 percent of the total population. There are a number of factors causing this: habitat loss, climate change, cats. But glass windows are one of the biggest killers of birds in the United States — claiming the lives of up to one billion birds each year. Producer Mark Bramhill has the story on what’s going on — and what folks in NYC are doing to try to fix it

I travelled to NYC to report this story, shadowing Audubon volunteers and visiting the Wild Bird Fund animal rehab center. It was difficult to see so many dead and injured birds, but also hopeful to know that real change is starting to happen.

TRACI BRIMHALL - INTIMACY AND THE EVERYDAY
MAY 2019 for BIRDNOTE DAILY
Mark Bramhill · Traci Brimhall – Intimacy and the Everyday

In this extended episode, Traci Brimhall shows how poetry can bring us closer to nature.

Part of an annual series of National Poetry Month episodes I started at BirdNote, highlighting the work of exceptional contemporary poets writing about birds and nature. I conducted the interviews, wrote, and produced the piece, with narration by Mary McCann.

LET IT BEEP
OCTOBER 2017 for WELCOME TO MACINTOSH

The drama, the inspirations, and the hijinks that went into the creation of sounds you hear nearly every day.

My favorite story from my podcast, Welcome to Macintosh. This story also aired on the podcast 20 Thousand Hertz. Runner-up in Audio Documentary for the 2018 Miller Audio Prize from the Missouri Review.

PERSON IN LOTUS POSITION
AUGUST 2017 for 99% INVISIBLE

Tech analysts estimate that over six billion emojis are sent each day. Emojis, which started off as a collection of low-resolution pixelated images from Japan, have become a well-established and graphically sophisticated part of everyday global communication.

But who decides what emojis are available to users, and who makes the actual designs? Independent radio and film producer Mark Bramhill took it upon himself to find out and, in the process, ended up developing and pitching his own idea for a new emoji.

Condensed version of a four-part mini-series on emoji I did for my podcast, Welcome to Macintosh. The piece helped break 99% Invisible’s typical style to experiment with new forms, and allowing more personality into the show.

COMMUNITY
NOVEMBER 2016 for INDEPENDENT PROJECTS

A portrait of Playhouse 1960, a community theatre in Houston, TX, as they prepare to put on Noël Coward’s play Blithe Spirit. Made with Clara Tian.

THE DIVA SHEEP
AUGUST 2016 for KCRW'S 24-HOUR RADIO RACE

The story of a farmer, a man in a pickle, a German opera producer, 100 ewes, and a production that took the New York art world by storm. Produced with Jon Earle. Winner of the 2016 UnFictional Award for KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race.

SONIC ID: REGRETS
JUNE 2015 for TRANSOM

Walking down Main Street in Hyannis, MA, Joe talks about his biggest regrets.

AN OCEAN AWAY
MAY 2015 for TRANSOM

Sarah Outen is on an adventure: doing a lap of the world powered only by her own muscles. She travels by bike, kayak, and row boat. Her trip has brought her the best — and worst — moments of her life. And now, four years after starting her journey, Sarah is preparing for the final leg: rowing home from Cape Cod to London.