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North with the Spring - Migration

A modern-day adventure inspired by a 1940s journey

American naturalist Bruce Beehler — inspired by Edwin Way Teale's similar journey in 1947 — is following the spring songbird migration to build greater appreciation for birds. In partnership with American Bird Conservancy, Beehler is traveling from the Gulf of Mexico to the boreal forest of Canada. He says his time at the gulf was especially exciting, because he observed multiple individuals of many species. “You might see 50 Indigo Buntings and 25 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks feeding in a mulberry tree,” Beehler explains. “And instead of a single Painted Bunting (like this one), which is what you'd normally see, you see 10 or 15.”

This show brought to you by The Bobolink Foundation.

Full Transcript



North with The Spring Migration

From an interview with Dr. Bruce Beehler by Dominic Black

For BirdNote, I'm Dominic Black. 

I was very lucky because I had an epiphany…

When Bruce Beehler talks about birds, he's talking about a vocation he's had since a family picnic in the late 1950s, in Lake Roland Park, north of Baltimore, Maryland.

…and I happened to be just looking around and looked up and I saw this wood-pecker high in a dead tree. And it had a red crown and, eh, you know, it was a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I didn't know at the time what it was. And I saw that bird, and that bird captured me.  

The imprint of that epiphany's stayed with Bruce Beehler across 50 years or more as a distinguished ornithologist. Right up to the day I spoke to him. From a campground in southwestern Wisconsin. Roughly half way through a 100-day trek in partnership with the American Bird Conservancy. Following the spring migration from south to north. Beginning on the Gulf of Mexico:

Certainly the most exciting thing was to see the birds come across the gulf. They actually drop into these little patches of oak woods down on the Gulf Coast, and they arrive in the afternoon and they start feeding madly, groups of birds. So in-stead of one or two Swainson's Thrushes, you'd see 10 or 20. You know, instead of a single Painted Bunting, which is what you'd normally see, you see 10 or 15. You might see 50 Indigo Buntings, 25 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, feeding in a mulberry tree. So that's stunning.   

Dr. Bruce Beehler's traveling north, following spring migration.  

For BirdNote, I'm Dominic Black.   


Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Red-bellied Woodpecker [100776] recorded by W L Hershberger
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black

© 2015 Tune In to  June 2015  Narrator: Dominic Black

ID#  migration-22-2015-06-23 migration-22 

Sights & Sounds

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