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Whistle from the Sky

In its flight display, the male Long-billed Curlew flies up with rapidly beating wings and glides down, then up again and down, stitching a series of arcs across the sky and calling all the time. Their loud flight calls warn of the presence of potential predators. Long-billed Curlews are the largest of North American shorebirds. Would you like to try and spot a Long-billed Curlew? Take a class or field trip with your local Audubon chapter.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Whistle from the Sky

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote!
[Display song of a Long-billed Curlew]
Every spring, in the grasslands that remain in the Great Basin and Great Plains, you may be treated to the flight display of the Long-billed Curlew, accompanied by its bubbling song. The male flies up with rapidly beating wings and glides down, then up again and down, stitching a series of arcs across the sky and calling all the time.
 [Display song of a Long-billed Curlew]
 Long-billed Curlews are the largest of North American shorebirds. They winter on mudflats on our southern coasts where they extract small crabs from their burrows for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like most shorebirds, they roost in flocks, and when they are disturbed, their loud flight calls attract the attention of their flock mates to the presence of potential predators. [Flight calls of a Long-billed Curlew]
 But when the birds arrive on their breeding grounds on the prairies, their hormones have put them in a different mood, and it is time to leave the flock—to display, sing, mate, and nest. And their whistles can be heard again, dropping from the sky.
[Display song of a Long-billed Curlew]
If you’ve been thinking about taking a class on bird identification, or you just want to get out and explore nature with some friends, contact your local Audubon chapter. Start at birdnote.org. I’m Frank Corrado.
###
Call of the Long-billed Curlew provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller. Additional marsh ambient from R.S. Little.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2009 Tune In to Nature.org Rev. for May 2009

ID#050906LBCUKPLU     

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