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.


This is BirdNote.

In July in Southeast Arizona, midday temperatures soar above 100 degrees. A cicada’s high-pitched whine adds an edge to the searing heat. 

But relief is coming.

The monsoon season begins. Winds from the south draw tropical moisture northward into the Sonoran Desert. Moist air colliding with intense heat and mountainous terrain breeds epic thunderstorms.

Rainfall rejuvenates the arid land. Grass grows lush, wildflowers spring forth, gullies once dusty now rush with water.

And birds sing. Cassin’s Sparrows have waited for the late summer rains to begin their courtship. Now the males sing their plaintive phrases almost non-stop. Botteri’s Sparrows add their distinctive sputters and trills. And a Rufous-winged Sparrow voices its gentle melody. 

The summer monsoon refreshes the desert world like a second spring.

The soundscapes featured in today’s show were recorded by Gordon Hempton and provided courtesy of



Desert thunder birds + high-pitched whine of insects + rainy desert thunder recorded by Gordon Hempton of Also, sounds from Hempton’s Essentials – thunder #7 and rain storm aftermath #15.

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Song of Cassin’s Sparrow [50231] recorded G.A. Keller; Song of Botteri’s Sparrow [112634] recorded by C.A.Marantz; Rufous-winged Sparrow [112637] recorded by C.A. Marantz.

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

Written by Bob Sundstrom

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2015 Tune In to    July 2018/2019   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#  sonorandesert-01-2013-07-26          sonorandesert-01 

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