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Ivan Doig on the Music of Birds

A meadowlark sings in Ride with Me, Mariah Montana...

Writer Ivan Doig wrote about bird songs, including that of this Western Meadowlark, in his book, Ride with Me, Mariah Montana: "Warbles and trills and solo after solo ... the air was magically busy. None of us spoke while the songs of the birds poured undiluted. I suppose we were afraid the spate of loveliest sound would vanish if we broke it with so much as a whisper. But after a bit came the realization that the music of birds formed a natural part of this place, constant as the glorious grass that made feathered life thrive."
Ivan Doig passed away on April 9, 2015. Learn more...

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Ivan Doig on the Music of Birds

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote!

[Mix of Western Meadowlark, Veery songs, and Black-capped Chickadee songs]

How does the celebration of bird song become part of our lives? The acclaimed writer Ivan Doig shows how in one of his novels set in Montana, Ride with Me, Mariah Montana. The novel’s narrator, Jick McCaskill, and two others have hiked to an overlook on Red Sleep Mountain. Let’s hear from Ivan Doig himself, as Jick reflects:

“By all evidence, the three of us were the only onlookers in this whole encompassing reach of planet. Picturing that moment in the mind, it would seem a scene of thoroughest silence. But no. Warbles and trills and solo after solo of sweet sweet and wheeep wheeep and deedeedee: the air was magically busy. 

[Mix of Western Meadowlark, Veery, and Black-capped Chickadee songs]

None of us spoke while the songs of the birds poured undiluted. I suppose we were afraid the spate of loveliest sound would vanish if we broke it with so much as a whisper. But after a bit came the realization that the music of birds formed a natural part of this place, constant as the glorious grass that made feathered life thrive.” 

[Long mix of Western Meadowlark, Veery, and Black-capped Chickadee songs] 

BirdNote’s producer is John Kessler and our executive producer is Chris Peterson. If you know someone who might enjoy today’s program, you can share it on our website at birdnote.org.  

[Continue mix of bird sounds]

###

Songs and calls of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Western Meadowlark song recorded by W.R. Fish.  Song of the Veery recorded by W.W.H. Gunn.

Call of the Black-capped Chickadee recorded and provided by M. Stewart, naturesound.org

Ambient track provided by C. Peterson

Producer:  John Kessler

Executive Producer:  Chris Peterson

© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org July 2013 Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#072307doig1KPLU doigi-01b

Quotation from: Doig, Ivan. Ride with Me, Mariah Montana. New York: Scribner, 1990, p. 28-29.

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