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Canyon Spectacle - Swakane Canyon

Canyons large and small offer a variety of habitats!

Canyons, whether large or small, can host a spectacular variety of birds! Consider Swakane Canyon, in central Washington State. It cuts west from the Columbia River into the Entiat Mountains for nine miles, while gaining nearly 3,000 feet. Steep slopes wall in the canyon floor, several hundred yards wide. A slender creek runs through the canyon, nurturing shrubs like blue elderberry. The plant provides nesting cover for Bullock's Orioles – like this one -- and other birds in summer, and masses of tiny fruit to migrating birds in September. And each successive habitat embraces a new mix of birds and other wildlife.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Canyon Spectacle

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
 [A passage from Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite]
Canyons, whether large or small, can host a spectacular variety of birds! 
Consider Swakane Canyon, in central Washington State. It cuts west from the Columbia River into the Entiat Mountains for nine miles, while gaining nearly 3,000 feet. Steep slopes wall in the canyon floor, several hundred yards wide.
The lower canyon is dry and sparsely vegetated. But as we trek upward, we see that gains in elevation bring abundant changes in plant life, creating varied habitats.
A slender creek runs through the canyon, [bring in creek] nurturing shrubs like Blue Elderberry. [Begin Bullock’s Orioles] The plant provides nesting cover for Bullock’s Orioles and other birds in summer, and masses of tiny fruit to migrating birds in September. [Bullock’s Oriole song]
A few miles up the canyon, we find stands of Ponderosa pines, home to Western Tanagers [Western Tanager singing in background]. Climbing farther, we come upon groves of aspens and dense willow thickets, then grassy meadows interspersed with beaver ponds. [Veery song, in the background] Near the top of the canyon, accompanied by the song of a Hermit Thrush, we enter the shade of tall firs. [Hermit Thrush song] Each successive habitat embraces a new mix of birds and other wildlife.
In this canyon, nature creates a masterpiece: lovely to behold and so rich in variety.
[Strains of Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite]
                                                                               ###
Passage from Grand Canyon Suite composed by Ferde Grofe, from the Great American Grofe album, 1997 Angel Records.
Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the Bullock’s Oriole 125388 recorded by T.G. Sander; song of Western Tanager 99382 recorded by R.S. Little; song of Veery 67784 recorded by G.A. Keller: song of Hermit Thrush 11136 by T.G. Sander.
Robinson Canyon creek recorded by C. Peterson.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org     September 2018   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#  canyon-01-2012-09-05    canyon-01              

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