In the October sunlight, a Lincoln's Sparrow – like this one – sings energetically from a hedgerow. Soon a Fox Sparrow chimes in. Both nested in Alaska last summer but will spend the winter farther south. The Snow Geese are moving, too. A massive movement of birds takes place in the fall. The exodus of summer visitors to the tropics has given way to a surge from the north. And predators can't be far behind.
October Migrants—Look Who’s Back!
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote.
[Lincoln’s Sparrow song]
The birds’ voices declare, in no uncertain terms, that autumn is once again upon us. In the golden sunlight of an October morning, a Lincoln’s Sparrow sings energetically from a hedgerow [Lincoln’s Sparrow song], and soon a Fox Sparrow chimes in [Fox Sparrow song].
Both nested at higher latitudes or well up in the mountains last summer, but will spend September to May at lower latitudes or elevation.
In October, massive movements of birds take place across the continent. The exodus of summer visitors to the tropics has given way to a surge from the north. The brambles twitch with sparrows [Call of Song Sparrow], blackbirds flock by the thousands. Bays and lakes sparkle with waterbirds — loons, grebes, dabbling and diving ducks. [Chatter of Mallards] Many of them nested well to the north, on tundra ponds.
The sandpipers called Dunlins now swarm south, to winter along both coasts, by the many thousands. [Dunlin flock calls]
Close behind are the predators—northern-nesting Merlins, Peregrines, and Sharp-shinned Hawks, following south their winged prey. [Loud Dunlin flock calls]
I’m Michael Stein.
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Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Sooty Fox Sparrow recorded by L.J. Peyton. Dunlin recorded by W.W.H. Gunn. Call of Song Sparrow by G.A. Keller. Chatter of Mallards by A.A. Allen.
Lincoln's Sparrow recorded by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org October 2014/2017 Narrator: Michael Stein