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Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

Conservation of grasslands can help these birds.

The Field Sparrow 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, Leopold brought to life scenes of nature, a month at a time. 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.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Aldo Leopold and the Field Sparrows

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote!

[Field Sparrow song] 

A sweetly whistled song speeds toward a melodious trill. [Field Sparrow song] It’s 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. [Indigo Bunting song]” 

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. [Field Sparrow song] And the federal Conservation Reserve Program is leading the way, helping to maintain the ideal habitat for these sweet singers. [Field Sparrow song]

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. 

###

Bird sounds 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.
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 2017/2019          Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# SotB-FISP-leopolda-01-2011-07-03     Orig: 070207leopoldKPLU
  

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