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The vernal equinox, the first day of spring. The moment when the sun is directly above the equator, and day and night are nearly equal all over the world. Yet birds sense the growing hours of daylight through a surge of hormones. It’s time to sing! Both science and folklore tie spring to the renewal of nature, as the world awakens from the long cold winter. Listen carefully, and you might hear the bubbling song of a tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglet, or a Bewick’s Wren tuning up, or a towhee — like this beautiful Eastern Towhee — shouting out its whistled notes.
Celebrating the Vernal Equinox
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
Ahhh, the first day of spring . . .at last! Let’s step outside and greet the new season. Clearly, the birds know somethin’ is up. Listen to that Bewick’s Wren belt it out [Bewick’s Wren song].
The wren doesn’t know the precise instant of the vernal equinox, of course. It’s the moment when the sun is directly above the equator, and day and night are nearly equal all over the world. Yet the wren senses the growing hours of daylight through a surge of hormones. It’s time to sing [Bewick’s Wren song]!
Both science and folklore tie Spring to the renewal of nature, as the world awakens from the long cold winter. [Spotted Towhee song] A towhee shouts out its burry notes [Spotted Towhee song with multiple notes].
And, wow! There’s a tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglet, flashing its red crown. Listen to its song bubble forth [Ruby-crowned Kinglet song].
Now there’s a comical sound, coming from the marsh. It’s a Virginia Rail, unseen but hardly unheard, ringing in the new season. [Oinking phrase of Virginia Rail vocalization].
Spring has sprung. The birds declare it official. [Ruby-crowned Kinglet song]
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Dawn song recorded in Redmond WA by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
Other bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Songs of the Spotted Towhee and Ruby-crowned Kinglet recorded by G.A. Keller. Bewick’s Wren song recorded by M.D. Medler. Call of Virginia Rail recorded by W.L Hershberger.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org March 2022
ID# vernequinox-05-2016-03-20 vernequinox-05