• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

BirdNote®: October Migrants

Air Date: Week of

The Lincoln’s Sparrow is a small bird native to North America, known for its wrenlike sound. (Photo: © Gregg Thompson)

For many birds, October is a month of migration and movement, as birds of all kinds in the Northern Hemisphere make their way south. BirdNote®'s Michael Stein shares some notable species to keep an eye, and ear, out for this month.


CURWOOD: Look up in the sky this time of year -- or better yet, listen up! -- and you’ll surely see and hear great flocks of birds on their long journeys south here in the Northern Hemisphere. BirdNote’s Michael Stein has more.

October Migrants – Look Who’s Back!

[Lincoln’s Sparrow song]

The birds’ voices declare, in no uncertain terms, that autumn is once again upon us. In the golden sunlight of an October morning, a Lincoln’s Sparrow sings energetically from a hedgerow [Lincoln’s Sparrow song], and soon a Fox Sparrow chimes in [Fox Sparrow song].

Both nested at higher latitudes or well up in the mountains last summer, but will spend September to May at lower latitudes or elevation.

In October, massive movements of birds take place across the continent. The exodus of summer visitors to the tropics has given way to a surge from the north. The brambles twitch with sparrows [Call of Song Sparrow], blackbirds flock by the thousands. Bays and lakes sparkle with waterbirds — loons, grebes, dabbling and diving ducks. [Chatter of Mallards] Many of them nested well to the north, on tundra ponds.

The Lincoln’s Sparrow breeds largely in boreal regions. (Photo: © Gregg Thompson)

The sandpipers called Dunlins now swarm south, to winter along both coasts, by the many thousands. [Dunlin flock calls]

Close behind are the predators—northern-nesting Merlins, Peregrines, and Sharp-shinned Hawks, following south their winged prey. [Loud Dunlin flock calls]


Written by Bob Sundstrom
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Sooty Fox Sparrow recorded by L.J. Peyton. Dunlin recorded by W.W.H. Gunn. Call of Song Sparrow by G.A. Keller. Chatter of Mallards by A.A. Allen.
Lincoln's Sparrow recorded by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org October 2014/2017 Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#101606return2KPLU autumn-02b


CURWOOD: For pictures, fly on over to the Living on Earth website, loe dot org.



October Migrants on the BirdNote Website


Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Telephone: 617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth