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

BirdNote®: Skylark – With Aretha Franklin

Air Date: Week of

The skylark sings its unusually long song while flying up to 100 feet above the ground. (Photo: caroline legg, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The skylark is the only bird in North America that sings for three minutes straight while in flight. Aretha Franklin’s soulful rendition of “Skylark” accompanies the bird’s airborne song in this piece from BirdNote’s Mary McCann.


BASCOMB: The beautiful song of skylarks are a delight to many, including Aretha Franklin.
BirdNotes Mary McCann has more.

BirdNote®Skylark in Spring – with Aretha Franklin
Written by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!

[Aretha Franklin sings Skylark] Skylark...Have you anything to say to me…

Imagine – singing for three minutes while soaring to 100 feet in the air. The Skylark – no other bird in North America has such a long song or sings so persistently in flight.

*[Long sound break with song of the Skykark and continue under the text]

Aretha Franklin released her version of the jazz tune, “Skylark” in 1963. (Photo: Fred Seibert, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Around 1902, Skylarks were brought from England to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to satisfy the desire of English immigrants to hear the birds' exalted song. This remains the only place in North America, except for a few sightings in Alaska, where the Skylark can be heard. [Pause] Never mind. They do what so many birds do – they carry our aspirations and send our spirits soaring.

Oh skylark
I don't know if you can find all of these things
But my heart is riding on your wings...


Song of the Skylark provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by A.B. Vandenberg.
Skylark written by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer, 1941, Mercer Music/ Frank Music Corp (ASCAP). From the CD Aretha Franklin - Jazz to Soul, Sony, 1992
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and produced by John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org May 2017/2020 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# SKLAfranklina-2010-05-03-MM SKLAfranklina-01b
* Birds of North America, Issue No. 286, Authors: Campbell, R. W., L. M. Van Damme, and S. R. Johnson

BASCOMB: For photos flock on over to the Living on Earth website, loe dot org.



BirdNote | “Skylark–With Aretha Franklin”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | “Skylark”

YouTube | “Skylark at Godrevy with Skylarks Above Singing Their Bird Beautiful Song - Alauda Arvensis”

YouTube | “Aretha Franklin–Skylark (Official Audio)”


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