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Migration to the New World

Perhaps birds lead the First Americans to a new land...
© John Frisch View Large

The wild music of migrating geese may have led some of the First Americans to the New World. Perhaps in witnessing the migration of waterfowl they imagined a new world of abundance below the southern horizon. They may have asked themselves: Where do the birds come from in spring and where do they go, as the year turns colder? Spurred by need and perhaps a haunting music, in following the flocks, they came upon a land of astounding natural bounty. More than we know, our lives have been bound up with the lives of birds.

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Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Migration to the New World

Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.
[Extended calls of migrating Canada Geese]
This wild music may have led some of the First Americans to the New World. About 15,000 years ago, a vast sheet of ice covering northern North America retreated, opening an ice-free corridor along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The passageway extended from Alaska to southern Alberta and into the lower 48 states.
Hardy and adaptable explorers whose ancestors had crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia entered the corridor at least 12,000 years ago. Perhaps in witnessing the migration of waterfowl they imagined a new world of abundance below the southern horizon. [Calls of migrating Canada Geese]
They may have asked themselves: Where do the birds come from in spring and where do they go, as the year turns colder?
 [Sounds of winter wind whistling]
Imagine: traversing a vast unknown landscape with no maps, and only the resources they could carry with them. “The peopling of the New World…remains one of humanity’s greatest achievements, a feat of endurance and adaptation,” says writer Heather Pringle.*
[Calls of migrating Canada Geese]
Spurred by need and perhaps a haunting music, in following the flocks, they came upon a land of astounding natural bounty. More than we know, our lives have been bound up with the lives of birds.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
###
Flight calls of Canada Geese provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Flight calls, large flock (147564) by J. W. McGowan, large flock (96083) recorded by W.W.H. Gunn, and the subspecies Aleutian Canada Geese (119465) recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org          January 2017 Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  migration-11-2012-01-10

* Heather Pringle. “The First Americans” Scientific American. November 2011. Page 38.

 

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