Today we head to Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, just a few miles north of the Canada/US border. We'll hear a prairie dawn chorus — complete with coyotes. Today he’s taking us to Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, just a few miles north of the Canada/US border. As you’re listening, close your eyes and envision how all of these voices fit together — how each one is settled into just the right place on the spectrum.
Gordon Hempton: BirdNote Presents.
Ashley Ahearn: From BirdNote, this is Sound Escapes. I’m Ashley Ahearn.
Ok, so we’re back with our guide, Gordon Hempton - the Sound Tracker. And today he’s taking us to Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, just a few miles north of the Canada/US border.
Prairies are some of the most vast and beautiful places to listen to nature. And this grassland is one of the least noise-polluted places in North America. It’s just you and the birds, as far as you can hear.
Gordon Hempton: The auditory horizon will be 8 miles in every direction. But under very calm conditions, it can easily be up to ten, if not fifteen, miles in every direction. So you’re listening to hundreds of square miles in a recording like this.
[Wind and birds]
Gordon Hempton: And it’s at the very early morning when the light is just beginning to turn a little milky on the eastern horizon. That and the stars begin to disappear. The air is the calmest. But it’s a slow wakeup. We’re far north. And even though it’s the sunniest time of year, the cold temperatures keep these birds tucked in. But as the light begins to get a little bit brighter on the horizon, things really come alive.
Ashley Ahearn: We’re going to leave you to listen to this sonic awakening in a minute. As you’re listening though, close your eyes and envision how all of these voices fit together - how each one is settled into just the right place on the spectrum in this vast landscape.
We recommend listening with headphones if you’ve got ‘em, and if you want to follow along and ID the birds you’re hearing, head over to bird note dot org slash sound escapes.
[Soundscape of the Grasslands National Park]
Ashley Ahearn: I love hearing the coyotes in this recording, they always make the hairs on my neck stand up.
I hope you enjoyed the sounds you just heard from the open prairies of Saskatchewan.
For all their vastness, prairies are also some of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. All that lush, fertile soil is also great for farming - and today there isn’t a lot of undisturbed prairie left. But you can help - take a look at our website and learn more about prairie restoration for birds like Bluebirds, Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. That’s Bird Note Dot Org Slash Sound Escapes
Next time on Sound Escapes — Gordon’s taking us to Tennessee to experience spring, summer and fall, at the Land Between the Lakes.
I’m Ashley Ahearn.
This BirdNote podcast is made possible by Jim and Birte Falconer of Seattle, Idie Ulsh, and the Horizons Foundation.