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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

BirdNote ®: The Big Thicket

Air Date: Week of July 12, 2013

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Prothonotary Warbler (Laura Gooch)

In the south-east corner of Texas lies America's Ark, the Big Thicket, a remarkable collection of different ecosystems and creatures. Mary McCann has this BirdNote®.

Transcript

CURWOOD: It's Living On Earth, I'm Steve Curwood.

[MUSIC: BIRDNOTE® THEME]

We're often lucky enough on our show to be able to marvel at some of the many wonderful gifts nature has to offer us - and that's the case with today's BirdNote®. Here's Mary McCann.

[WETLAND FOREST BAYOU SOUNDS]


Sunset in the Big Ticket (Barclay Nix)

MCCANN: Tucked away in Southeast Texas is one of the most remarkable enclaves of nature. Known as The Big Thicket, this natural region is home to ten different ecosystems ranging from cypress bayous and arid sandylands to palmetto thickets, pine forests, marshes, and grasslands.


Neches River (Barclay Nix)

Such a wide variety of natural landscapes provides homes for a broad array of birds and other wildlife. More than 1,300 species of plants – including 30 wild orchids – have been tallied in The Big Thicket. Small wonder the region has been called “America’s Ark.” This spectacular diversity of plants is made possible by the dozens of soil types deposited by the outflow from melting glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age.


Cypress tree in Autumn (Barclay Nix)

Since the 1970s, the National Park Service has set aside nearly 100,000 acres (or about 3 percent) of this biogeographic region. Called the Big Thicket Natural Preserve, a valuable piece of this utterly unique natural world has been conserved.

Let’s listen again to “America’s Ark,” as Bullfrogs sing alongside Northern Cardinals and Prothonotary Warblers.

[BULLFROGS, NORTHERN CARDINAL, PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS]

I’m Mary McCann

CURWOOD: That soundscape was recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet. To see some photos of the big thicket and its birds, hop on down to our website, LOE.org.

[1992.05.16b Wetland forest bayou day bird activity and 1992.05.18a 18A Wetland forest Bayou frogs and birds recorded by Gordon Hempton, of QuietPlanet.com
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Writer - Bob Sundstrom
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org July 2013 Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# bigthicket-01-2013-07-08 bigthicket-01
Re Man and Biosphere: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/man-and-biosphere-programme/
Background: Peacock, Howard. Nature Lover’s Guide to the Big Thicket. Texas A&M U. Press, 1994.]

 

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