The song of this Field Sparrow was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his Wisconsin farm in the 1940s. Sadly, Field Sparrow populations are declining rapidly. You can learn more about "The State of the Birds" from National Audubon, and the plight of the Field Sparrow in particular.
July before Dawn –
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Field Sparrow song]
A sweetly whistled song speeds toward a melodious trill. [Field Sparrow song] It is still dark, an hour before dawn on this July morning in the Wisconsin countryside. A Field Sparrow announces the new day [Field Sparrow song].
This was the first bird song Aldo Leopold awoke to on his farm in the 1940s. In his Sand County Almanac, a classic of conservation and nature writing, Aldo Leopold brought to life scenes of nature, a month at a time.
Picture a man sitting on a bench outside his cabin door, awaiting the dawn chorus, a cup of coffee in hand, “facing,” as Leopold put it, “the white wake of the morning star.” He wrote: “Before the Field Sparrows have quite gone the rounds [Field Sparrow song in background], the robin in the big elm warbles loudly his claim to the spot in the old tree …” [American Robin song]
“The robin’s insistent caroling awakens the oriole …” [Baltimore Oriole song]. Then “…the indigo bunting [Indigo Bunting song] and so it goes. Field Sparrows aren't as common today as they were in Aldo Leopold's day, but conservation of natural grasslands can help boost their numbers – and the Federal Conservation Reserve Program is leading the way, helping to maintain the ideal habitat for these sweet singers.
For BirdNote, I'm Mary McCann.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Field Sparrow and Indigo Buntings’ song recorded by G.A. Keller. American Robin song recorded by W.L. Hershberger. Baltimore Oriole song recorded by A.A. Allen.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org July 2018/2021 Narrator: Mary McCann
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