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Song of the Dipper

This bird flies, swims, and sings, too!

The American Dipper makes its living in the boulder-strewn rapids of mountain streams. The dipper starts to belt out its sprightly song while icicles still hang thickly from frozen waterfalls. John Muir wrote of this bird: "His music is that of the streams refined and spiritualized. The deep booming notes of the falls are in it, the trills of rapids, the gurgling of margin eddies, the low whispering of level reaches, and the sweet tinkle of separate drops oozing from the end of mosses and falling into tranquil pools." Learn more about this intriguing bird at Cornell's All About Birds.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®
Song of the Dipper

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote!
[Winter Wren song]
Some birds don’t wait for spring before they start singing. Luckily for us, resident, backyard regulars like Winter Wrens and Song Sparrows are often in full voice in late February. [A quick bit of Song Sparrow song]
The same is true of the American Dipper, the chubby, gray songbird that makes its living in the boulder-strewn rapids of our mountain streams. The dipper starts to belt out its sprightly song while icicles still hang thickly from frozen waterfalls. [American Dipper song]
Esteemed naturalist John Muir was moved to eloquence by the American Dipper, with which he shared the streams of California’s Sierras. [American Dipper song] Muir wrote of the dipper’s song:
“The more striking strains are perfect arabesques of melody, composed of a few full, round, mellow notes, embroidered with delicate trills which fade and melt in long slender cadences. … His music is that of the streams refined and spiritualized. The deep booming notes of the falls are in it, the trills of rapids, the gurgling of margin eddies, the low whispering of level reaches, and the sweet tinkle of separate drops oozing from the end of mosses and falling into tranquil pools.”
[American Dipper song]
###
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Songs of the Winter Wren, Song Sparow and American Dipper recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org          Feb. 2010

ID# 022707AMDI3KPLU    

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