Midday temperatures in southeast Arizona soar above 100 degrees during the month of July. But relief is coming. A summer monsoon refreshes the Sonoran Desert like a second spring. Grass grows lush, wildflowers spring forth, and birds sing. Cassin’s Sparrows sing their plaintive phrases almost nonstop. Botteri’s Sparrows add their distinctive sputters and trills. And a Rufous-winged Sparrow — like the one pictured here — voices its gentle melody.
Sparrows Sing in the Arizona Monsoon
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote.
[Arizona desert summer soundscape just before the thunderstorm]
In July in Southeast Arizona, midday temperatures soar above 100 degrees. A cicada’s high-pitched whine adds an edge to the searing heat. [Intense whine of cicadas in Arizona desert heat]
But relief is coming. [Lightning and thunder]
The monsoon season begins. Winds from the south draw tropical moisture northward into the Sonoran Desert. Moist air colliding with intense heat and mountainous terrain breeds epic thunderstorms. [Continue thunderstorm fading to rain and aftermath]
Rainfall rejuvenates the arid land. Grass grows lush, wildflowers spring forth, gullies once dusty now rush with water. [Rushing rain water]
And birds sing. [Cassin’s Sparrow song] Cassin’s Sparrows have waited for the late summer rains to begin their courtship. Now the males sing their plaintive phrases almost nonstop. [Cassin’s Sparrow song] Botteri’s Sparrows add their distinctive sputters and trills. And a Rufous-winged Sparrow voices its gentle melody. [Rufous-winged Sparrow song] [Thunderstorm and rain]
The summer monsoon refreshes the desert world like a second spring. [Cassin’s Sparrow song]
The soundscapes featured in today’s show were recorded by Gordon Hempton and provided courtesy of QuietPlanet.com. Listen again at BirdNote.org.
Desert thunder birds + high-pitched whine of insects + rainy desert thunder recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com. Also, sounds from Hempton’s Essentials – thunder #7 and rain storm aftermath #15.
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of Cassin’s Sparrow  recorded G.A. Keller; Song of Botteri’s Sparrow  recorded by C.A.Marantz; Rufous-winged Sparrow  recorded by C.A. Marantz.
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 July 2018/2019 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# sonorandesert-01-2013-07-26 sonorandesert-01