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Winter Sounds of the Lower Rio Grande

Experience the subtropics!

In the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the Rio Grande River borders Mexico, birds commonly found in Central America reach their northern-most range. Here you can find fascinating birds like this Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, a tiny flycatcher with a long name! You’ll also see colorful Green Jays, secretive White-tipped Doves, beautiful Audubon’s Orioles, boisterous Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, and raucous Plain Chachalacas.

Full Transcript



Winter Sounds of the Lower Rio Grande

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Sounds of Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and Plain Chachalacas] 

Winter in the subtropics... We’re in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the Rio Grande borders Mexico. And here, birds commonly found in Central America reach their northern-most range. 

A Green Jay, the very picture of a tropical bird feathered in green, yellow, and blue, offers its varied voices [Green Jay, sample of sounds]. Now a secretive White-tipped Dove calls eerily from the forest floor [White-tipped Dove].

A tiny flycatcher with a very long name - a Northern Beardless Tyrannulet [song of Northern Beardless Tyrannulet] sings a distinctive refrain. Nearby, an Audubon’s Oriole seems to sound like a child just learning to whistle [song of Audubon’s Oriole].

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks demonstrate that they are indeed ducks that whistle [whistle of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks], while the large, chicken-like Plain Chachalaca shouts loud enough to drown out all others [calls of Plain Chachalacas].

But as night falls and the subtropical birds go quiet, an Eastern Screech-Owl trills [call of Eastern Screech-Owl].

The bird sounds for today’s show come from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. 

[call of Eastern Screech-Owl].


Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of White-tipped Dove [3970] recorded by W.A. Thurber; song of Northern Beardless Tyrannulet [40558]; call of Plain Chachalaca [130903] by Gerrit Vyn; call of Green Jay [69970] P. Schwartz; call of Green Jay [69971] by P. Schwartz; song of Audubon’s Oriole [105567] by G.A. Keller; whistle of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck [58943] by P. Schwartz; call of Easter Screech-Owl [20434] by H. McIsaac. 

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2014 Tune In to  January 2017/2020  Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  lowerriogrande-01-2014-01-14 lowerriogrande-01b

Sights & Sounds

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