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Golden-crowned Sparrows in the Klondike

Those prospectors should have listened

Words help us identify birds by vocalizations. Like the towhee's "Drink your tea,” or the Great Horned Owl’s “Who’s awake? Me, too…” Then there are the sweet, clear whistles of the Golden-crowned Sparrow. In the late 1890s, the gold prospectors of the Yukon may have imagined they were singing: “No gold here…” Ambitious young men eager to make a fortune had poured into the mining boomtowns of the Klondike. Few struck it rich; most found only cold, sickness, and hunger. Oblivious to their misfortunes, the Golden-crowned Sparrows sang: “No gold here. No gold here.” What do you hear? Tell us on Facebook.

Today’s show is brought to you by White Flower Farm, a family-owned mail order nursery offering a wide range of perennials, annuals, and shrubs for early summer planting.

This story was also produced with support from the Bobolink Foundation.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Golden-crowned Sparrows - No Gold Here

Written by Rick Wright

This is BirdNote.
[Eastern Towhee (166623) 00:08]
Putting bird songs into words is one of the best and oldest methods to learn birding by ear. Words help us identify birds by their vocalizations. Like the towhee's "Drink your tea."
[Eastern Towhee (166623) 00:08]
Consider the Great Horned Owl’s “Who’s awake? Me too.” [Great Horned Owl (22874)]
And the sweet, clear whistles of the Golden-crowned Sparrow.
[Golden-crowned Sparrow (49976) 00:13]
In the late 1890s, though, the gold prospectors of the Yukon heard something else. No gold here…
[Golden-crowned Sparrow (49976) 00:28]
Ambitious young men eager to make an easy fortune had poured into the mining boomtowns of the Klondike. A very few struck it rich, but most found only misery and disillusion.
[Golden-crowned Sparrow (49976) 00:45]
Oblivious to the misfortunes of discouraged prospectors, through it all, the Golden-crowned Sparrows sang their plaintive refrain:
No gold here. No gold here.
What do you hear? Tell us on Facebook.
[Golden-crowned Sparrow (49976) 00:53]
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Today’s show is brought to you by White Flower Farm: a family-owned mail order nursery offering a wide range of perennials, annuals, and shrubs for early summer planting. More information is at whiteflowerfarm.com.
###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Eastern Towhee [166623] by Robert A. Bethel; Great Horned Owl (22874) by William R. Fish; Brown Creeper [100884] by Wilbur L. Hershberger; Golden-crowned Sparrow [49976] by Leonard J. Peyton.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org    June 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  GCSP-01-2017-06-09    GCSP-01

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