Eavesdrop on the Winter Bird Calls of the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Green Jays, Audubon's Orioles, Plain Chachalacas—this subtropic bird paradise is a lively place all year long.

This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of The National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.

Episode Transcript: 

This is BirdNote.

You’re listening to the sounds of 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. Now a secretive White-tipped Dove calls eerily from the forest floor.

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

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

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

The bird sounds for today’s show come from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. 



Written by Bob Sundstrom

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

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.

© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org  January 2017  Narrator: Mary McCann

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

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