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Sounds of the Boreal Forest

North America's "songbird bread-basket"

The boreal forest is a vast band of spruce and poplar, extending from coast to coast across Alaska and Canada. Called North America's "songbird bread-basket," for a brief time, it teems with song. Birdsongs heard on this show include a Common Loon (like this one), Swainson's Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, Black-and-white Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and others. You can learn more about "the Boreal" at, and take action on behalf of the boreal forest. (Buying recycled paper products can help!) The Macaulay Library provides many of the sounds for BirdNote.

Full Transcript



Sounds of the Boreal Forest

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote.
[Songs of the boreal forest, especially Common Loons]
The boreal forest has been called “North America’s songbird nursery.” This vast band of spruce and poplar extends from coast to coast, across Alaska and Canada. And every year, thousands upon thousands of birds fly there to fill the place with song.
In the dense, rich forest you might hear the fluty harmonics of the Swainson’s Thrush:
[Swainson’s Thrush]
…or the long, clear whistles of the White-throated Sparrow,
[White-throated Sparrow]
 … or the eerie wailing of the Common Loon.
[Common Loon]
There’s also the not-so-beautiful whine of droves of mosquitos. They’re a huge culinary attraction for many of the birds that make the journey to the boreal forest.
A feast worth singing about!
[Common Loon]
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
The Boreal Leadership Council is working to balance conservation and sustainable development in the Canadian boreal forest. Learn more at Together, we can #BringBirdsBack.
Soundtrack of the boreal forest provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.F. Budney. Wailing of a Common Loon recorded by S.R. Pantle. Producer: John Kessler
Interim Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2020 BirdNote    July 2020    Narrator: Michael Stein
ID#070506boreal         boreal-01b

Ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson described the song of the White-throated Sparrow as “ohhhhh, sweeet  ca-na-da    ca-na-da   ca-na-da”

Sights & Sounds

Related field notes: